Ice jams occurs in extremely cold temperatures when the rising heat from within the home reaches a snow covered roof and the bottom layer of snow melts and travels under down a roof line to the gutter. As it reaches the cold outside temperatures and the often colder gutters, it freezes sometimes instantly. As the process continues and more snow melts and runs down the roof towards the already frozen gutter line, this moisture starts to build. As the ice jams starts building higher and higher it prevents the continually melting water from escaping to the gutters. When prevented from flowing to the gutters it travels any way possible usually under your shingles and into your living space.
These ice jams situations do not occur unless large amounts of snow accumulate on your roof top. This is because the bottom layer of snow is unable to melt and run down your roof line without freezing unless it has more snow as an insulator on top. This makes the high snow load less common in our part of the country than parts of the Rocky Mountains and the northern parts of the United States. Yet, during heavy snowfall years such as 2009, 2010 and 2011 a great many homes in Omaha and surrounding areas have issues with ice jams and roof collapses. At Outdoor Innovations we have two different methods of dealing with heavy snowfall; preventative and emergency melting.
The preventative is done by installing during the warm season Bylin roof heater systems. Bylin has many different types of heaters for a variety of ice melting needs including their patented Roof Ice Melt or RIM system. For more information on Bylin’s RIM system and other stationary ice melting needs you can visit their website. Bylin’s patented RIM systems are specifically designed to keep the clean lines of roof without distracting with wires zig-zagged around. It is also much more efficient in that it uses less cable and therefore less energy; as well as being more stable for when snow slides off roofs in the spring time.
The emergency melting is done by use hot water pressure washers to melt the ice. These self contained hot water units are set up specifically to delivery near 200 degree water to the problem areas in order to melt and dissolve the ice jamming danger. This process starts by clearing out the downspouts in order to ensure the water is able to drain. We then continue to the gutter and roofline ensuring enough ice and snow is removed ensuring the flow of melting snow to the ground where it belongs.