A Denver, Colorado company has designed an efficient solution to commercial and residential roof edge ice problems, with a system it says equals or exceeds the performance of the most effective systems on the market, yet costs less to purchase and operate.
According to the company, HotEdge, initial installations in the Aspen area and other high snow load regions have proven successful at reducing safety hazards and property risks associated with overhanging icicles and ice dams.
Introduced last year at the International Builders Show, the patent-pending HotEdge Roof Ice Melt System takes a new approach by incorporating standard UL-approved 12W self-regulating ice melt cable with a specially-engineered, low-profile metal raceway. Designed to firmly press the cable against the existing roof edge, the system creates a warm surface to prevent snowmelt from refreezing before it drains to ground level. Because HotEdge requires just a fraction of the electrical cable used in competing systems, homeowners and businesses benefit from premium performance in a less expensive option that conserves energy, year after year.
“A common product used to address icicles and ice dam formation on a roof edge is a serpentine (zigzag) placement of ice melt cable along the lower 15 inches of the roof,” explained Bronson Rumsey of HotEdge, Inc. “While this type of installation does provide some relief by creating channels for snowmelt to flow off the roof, the system falls short by allowing ice to form between the zig and the zag.”
Other designs encase that same type of cable in a heavy, thermally-conductive extrusion that’s placed at the roof edge to provide a continuous heated surface. Although effective at preventing ice overhangs and dams from forming, these systems use the cable to heat a thick metal enclosure. As a result, the energy consumption tends to be high, and the cost for materials and installation can be difficult to justify.
“More power is required for longer periods of time, because of the heat sink characteristics of the metal extrusion,” said HotEdge inventor, Malcolm Nark. “Typical metal extrusions don’t transmit heat as efficiently, and they require 2-3 times the amount of ice melt cable to achieve the performance of the single cable run used in the HotEdge system. The amount of cable used in current extruded metal designs drives up the purchase price per linear foot of roof, as well as the energy cost to run it,” he observed.
The effectiveness of most existing roof edge ice melt designs is also limited by an air space that can exist between the extruded metal and the top cover. This air gap causes a “storm window” effect, dramatically decreasing the amount of heat transferred from the ice melt cable to the top cover. The HotEdge system was designed to eliminate that air space and use the existing structure to maximize heat transfer efficiency from the cable to the roof edge. “Unlike existing roof ice melt designs, HotEdge was developed to warm the existing structure and use it as a part of the ice melt system,” Nark continued.
According to Rumsey, the costs of materials, installation, operation and maintenance all factor into the real cost of owning a conventional extruded metal system. Current extruded metal designs also make it difficult to inspect and replace the ice melt cable, a problem that has been solved with the HotEdge design. “Replacing cable is an inevitable expense, given the manufacturers’ estimate of a 10-20 year service life from 12W self-regulating cables,” Rumsey added.
Another advantage of the HotEdge system is avoiding the need to penetrate the roof during installation, helping to minimize the potential for leaks. While extruded systems typically require mounting screws into the roof deck to hold them in place, the HotEdge system is installed with screws every 12 inches in the side fascia, not on the roof surface.
Initial home trials have proven extremely successful, and customer feedback has been very positive. “We’ve had a house in Aspen for 20 years, and we’ve tried several roof ice melt systems,” observed homeowner Ed Peterson. “The most successful — and least expensive to install and operate — is the HotEdge. Nothing we’ve ever tried has performed so well.” HotEdge systems can be installed on new construction or retrofitted to existing structures, without any modifications to an existing metal roof.
HotEdge, Inc. is rapidly expanding into high snow load regions worldwide, building relationships with architects, design-build firms, engineers, roofing contractors, material supply companies, licensed electricians and entrepreneurs. The company warrants HotEdge systems to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for ten years from the date of purchase, provided they are installed in accordance with the Installation Manual, National Electric Code (NEC) standards and all applicable local building and electrical codes. For more information, visit www.hotedge.net.