Post Number: 1
|Posted on Saturday, September 06, 2008 - 11:35 am: ||
Question: I am thinking of installing Valley Panels and T-Panel Systems – electric heated cables housed in metal panels – made by Thermal Technologies (www.tpanels.com) to help the yearly ice dams that build up on the North face of the slate roof of my Victorian house in Massachusetts. Does anybody have experience, suggestions, or caveats about this or similar systems for this purpose? Any help would be appreciated.
Details: I live in a 120 year-old Victorian in Massachusetts. I bought it 14 years ago when it was near condemned and have restored it myself during my time here. I have done several mid-sized repairs on my slate roof, but despite all efforts I continue to have serious problems with ice dams along the base and valleys of the North facing roof.
I installed over 60 5” diameter soffit vents. I have installed 4 large gable end vents. The attic floor is well insulated. I keep attic windows open in the winter to keep the roof surface cold. The only finished room in the attic has 4” deep channels for air flow from the soffits and then R30 insulation separating them from the living space.
The North face of the house has a large gable. All snow is shed down two valleys which are adjacent to just 8 feet of drip edge on either end. Every year ice dams form at the end of each valley and then build along much of the drip edge, up to a distance of 20” up the roof from the drip edge. I can’t continue to go 40 feet off the ground each winter – often as many as two or three times – to chip ice that has at times become over 4” thick.
I am looking for advice from the experts in this group. I see no way to use regular electric cables. Maybe I don’t understand how snow aprons work – but given the severity of the existing problem, I don’t see how they will help. With the price of copper, my limited finances, and the fact that I only have I dams along one face, this doesn’t feel like the right direction to me.
Thermal Technologies has Valley Panel Systems and T-Panel Systems which are metal panels that house electric cables. I am considering running an 8’ length up each of the North face valleys and then replacing the bottom two rows of slates with the T-Panels. If these systems function as described I believe this would solve the ice dam problem permanently, would only require work that I could do myself, and would not significantly effect the look of the roof very significantly.
But I know little more about slate roofs and ice dams than I have learned from experience working on my own house, reading in The Slate Roof Bible, and learning from the Slateroofcentral message boards. So I would very much appreciate any advice, suggestions, caveats, or experience with this technology that people in this group have.
In advance, many thanks.