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Snow Melting System for a roof

Snow Melting System for a roof

Snow Melting System for a roof

I was asked if a snow melting system can be used on an existing roof that will have a higher roof beside it. The snow melting system is to avoid reinforcing the existing roof for snow accumulation and drift. I have never used this and I am not sure if it is allowed by building codes or local authorities. Has any one used it? and is it an acceptable solution?
Appreciate any comments. Thanks

RE: Snow Melting System for a roof

I have not seen a code provision that allows it in the US.
Regardless, I would not rely on a device that probably isn't on backup power, probably won't be properly serviced, and probably will be switched off one day to save money.

RE: Snow Melting System for a roof

Tried making the argument once. City's response was- What happens when the power goes out during a snow storm and the battery backup is dead?
We reinforced the roof.

RE: Snow Melting System for a roof

Hey, perhaps some checking with city engineers at places like Lake Placid or Saranac Lake, NY. Most older houses there have heat cables at the eaves to melt ice or packed snow that otherwise would make a dam and melt water from above won't back up under shingles then. If there is no restriction, go ahead and do it. How often would a power loss happen in mild weather when roof snow melts, no storms? My experience with this method in Wisconsin has never had a problem as mentioned.

RE: Snow Melting System for a roof

Another thing to consider is where all that melted snow is going to wind up. If it winds up on the sidewalk, you could get sheet ice, which is pretty hazardous to pedestrians, or you could get water into drain pipes that freeze and crack them.

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RE: Snow Melting System for a roof

In some parts of the world we use heated glass Panels for roofs
Then we get similar questions...what is the show load for glass design
the answer is always...the full show load because heating system can fail
next question is then...why heating system
the answer is...to keep the roof free of snow ( for most the time )

best regards

RE: Snow Melting System for a roof

National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) 2015. Clause - Snow removal by mechanical, thermal, manual or other means shall not be used as a rationale to reduce snow loads. So if your in Canada its pretty clear.

RE: Snow Melting System for a roof

Thanks All for your input.
CBEngi, I am in Ontario, but as you know, local codes such as the Ontario Building Code(OBC), are the governing ones, not the NBCC.
The current OBC doesn't have the Clause you mentioned. I certainly agree that the roof should be reinforced.

RE: Snow Melting System for a roof

The OBC relies upon the NBCC structural commentaries for snow load provisions. Within the structural commentaries CBEngi's clause is discussed. I am glad you agree that the adjacent roof should be reinforced, to me it is pretty clear. I have had a couple projects cancelled due to what you speak about, because the adjacent owner would not allow the roof reinforcement work to be completed on their property, no matter who paid.

RE: Snow Melting System for a roof

Thanks Canuck65. It is interesting that you mentioned the NBCC structural commentaries. In one of the projects that we did a peer review for the work done by one of the "star" structural engineers in Canada, we referenced the NBCC structural commentaries for items that we did not agree about. The engineer said: The NBCC structural commentaries are not part of the OBC and can't be used.

RE: Snow Melting System for a roof

Weird I am located in Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Building code requires us to use NBCC 2015.

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