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For my Shrewsbury friends…here’s how to make your own ice dam melter…

SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – So for those who’ve been following these stories, both on the Lantern and on Facebook, I developed this cute little invention to melt ice dams that’s been traveling around town this week.  While you’re more than welcome to borrow it, I only have one, so I thought I would just put together a quick how-to article on how you can make your own, using readily available materials.

All you need are the following items:

A package of 25,  9-12″ long zip ties

One or two 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 6-8 foot pieces of wood

Drill with 1/4″ bit

A 100 foot roof heating cable, 60 will do too. (if you’re looking for those in home depot, they’re actually in Aisle 4, right side, halfway down, in the plumbing department.)  If for any reason you can find them there, check Lowes or just order on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Heat-ADKS-500-100-Foot–Icing/dp/B0000DGAKL

Once you have the pieces, the assembly will just take a few minutes.

On the pieces of wood, drill a hole all the way through every six inches from one end to the other.   If you’re using two pieces of wood, alternate the holes a bit by starting the first piece with holes starting an inch away from the end, and on the other piece, start the first hole 3 inches in.

Next, lay it all out on the floor with the two pieces of wood about 2 feet apart, and just loop the heating cable up and down from one piece of wood to the other, or if you’re using just one piece of wood, just drape the cable in 2 foot loops.  The zip ties go through the holes and around the cable, and you’re pretty much done.

At this point it should look like this picture up above – which was done with only one piece of wood. For future versions, I’ll always use two pieces.

Lastly, you need a long pole to place it where needed.  I use my roof rake, and just put a couple of zip ties around the device (only on the upper piece of wood), to be able to get it up really high where the ice dams are often located.  You’re just about done.  Plug in the ice melt cable with a grounded three prong extension cord, and just lift up the device and place it on the ice dam.  Make sure that it drapes just a little bit off the house, so that a channel is created to allow the newly melted water to flow off.  Leave it there for a few hours, and perhaps move it around a bit to a new spot.  This will be a simple, and easy way to get rid of an ice dam without hacking your roof up with an axe, and risking falling off in the process.

When you build yours, it would be awesome if you’d send me a photo to put up, so others can learn first hand from your experiences too.

Good luck


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One Response to For my Shrewsbury friends…here’s how to make your own ice dam melter…

  1. Chuck Staples

    February 5, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    Looks intriguing. Will have to give this a try.

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