Choosing The Wrong Roof Ice Prevention System Put a New England Home in Danger!
As the owner of Edge Melt Systems Roof Ice Prevention, I regularly talk with our installing contractors. I have a vested interest in their success as businesses and professional installers of our products. I take the time to educate and listen. It was during a conversation with Greg Greene, the owner of New England Ice Solutions, that I learned of a project where they removed a competitor's roof ice melt system from a residence in Massachusetts.
As it turned out, the system had suffered catastrophic failure due to the heat cables suffering a 'wet fire'. This is caused by installing the system without the proper ground fault protection. (I know, that is the responsibility of the electrician. But, you can be absolutely sure that we cover that with our contractors to make sure this is not overlooked. Additionally, all systems are quoted with our GFEP units. WE DO NOT TAKE THIS FOR GRANTED. Your safety and the protection of your home are a paramount concern.) Wet fires result from a damaged heat cable igniting and continuing to melt or burn until the heat cable is consumed. The picture here shows a project replaced on a daycare center. No ground fault protection was used. The same was the case on the above home in New England.
The guys at New England Ice Solutions inspected the project, including the electrical panel. It was discovered that the contractor who installed the system did not use ground fault protection. All hard wired heat cable systems are required to use Equipment Ground Fault Protection by the National Electric Code. How this was overlooked is beyond me. But, the result was the heat cables caught on fire. Bad installations are a blight on the industry. Fortunately, this one didn't burn the house down.
NEIS removed the existing roof ice prevention system and installed and expertly designed system from Edge Melt Systems. It included our Heated Eave and Valley Panels along with our highly efficient and reliable heat cable system controller - the DC Flex.
Poorly Designed Control System was another shortcoming.
Another problem with the original installation was the choice and location of the roof ice prevention system controller. As can be seen in the picture here, the moisture sensor was mounted in an area that 1) is likely to collect less snowfall, and 2) does not stand a chance to catch any dripping that would allow for retriggering. The first is important to turn the system on at the right time - as the snow is falling. The second is important to allow the system to be on at the most important time - during the gradual melting the days and weeks after a snowfall while there is snow on the roof.
The poor placement of this sensor can only be the result of a lazy contractor or a contractor who didn't know better because the roof ice prevention manufacturer failed to educate him properly. It's a good thing this homeowner has New England Ice Solutions replacing her ice dam prevention system. They are true experts.
NEIS abandoned the snow sensing unit in favor of the DC Flex controller from Edge Melt Systems. Its versatility, functionality, and affordability are unmatched. Its indoor installation also means this homeowner won't have to come outside to interact with her ice melt system controller.
Lessons Learned the Hard Way
It's really unfortunate for this customer that she had to pay for the prior poor installation. And, it isn't always a story of 'you get what you pay for either'. The competitor's system does come with a hefty price tag for a system with inferior performance.
Don't make the same mistake. Our systems are better designed and better performing. Our support is excellent. We take the time to educate you so you or YOUR CUSTOMERS do not have to learn the hard way.