Roof Ice Dam Solutions

Technical Details

Variable Thermal Mass
The Variable Thermal Mass concept of light weight sheet metal combined with self-regulating Safety Agency Listed ice and snow melt heating cable to drain melt water from a roof surface was tested and developed by Malcolm Nark in Aspen, Colorado. This new, second generation system , with a spring loaded cable cavity is now available and is covered by an issued US Patent.

When loaded down with snow and ice, the large effective thermal mass conducts heat away from the self-regulating heating cable. The cable cools down and then draws more current to maintain the correct internal temperature.

When the snow and ice clears the panel, the effective thermal mass of the panel decreases and so does the electrical energy usage. In this regard, the sheet metal panels exhibit the energy saving advantages of the original Zig-Zag System which uses about five times more electrical power than the single run Heated Panel System.

The design of an effective ice dam prevention system considers many problem areas. Any cold spot in the heated drainage path can cause an ice dam to form. Careful system design and execution is required. Any weak link needs to be evaluated and addressed.

It’s not rocket science, but the process can get complicated. Experience and technical knowledge is required to properly design a functioning system. Energy usage should be minimized. Worst case scenarios should be considered. The system components should blend into the aesthetic appearance of the structure.

Technical Information on thermal mass is available at:

Latent Heat of Fusion
(Hidden heat required for change of state. e.g. Solid ice to liquid water)
It takes one BTU to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.
It takes 144 BTUs to melt one pound of ice into one pound of water at 32 degrees.
So it takes less energy to keep the water moving than to allow the water to freeze at night and melt the ice the next day.
The AspenSnowMelt System is designed to maintain a heated drain path 24/7.
In warmer weather the thermostat turns off the power to the system to save energy.

Technical information on the extra electrical energy required to provide the extra heat to melt ice versus keeping the ice melt water in a liquid state can be found at:

Patent Information
A new second generation system is now available and is covered by a US patent 9,428,915 B2

Click here for full .pdf document 9_428_915_Issued_Patent.pdf860.0 KB

Call Malcolm Nark today 303-949-5050

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