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Chimney and Pipe Protection 101: Defending Your Metal Roof Against Winter's Wrath
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Chimney and Pipe Protection 101: Defending Your Metal Roof Against Winter's Wrath

Posted by Derek Gamble - SnoBlox-Snojax Specialist on Oct 12th 2023

Damaged Vent Pipe

Winter brings a serene, snow-covered landscape but also the challenge of protecting our homes from the harsh elements. One significant concern, especially for homes with metal roofs, is the accumulation and subsequent avalanching of uncontrolled snow and ice. Chimneys and vent pipes, being vulnerable points, require special attention to prevent damage. Here are some effective ways to protect chimneys and vent pipes from sliding snow and ice on a metal roof.

Install Snow Guards

Snow guards are small metal or plastic devices installed on the roof surface, strategically placed to prevent snow and ice from sliding off in large chunks. They work by creating friction and allowing snow to melt and safely drip off in smaller amounts.  Snow guards come in various designs, so choose ones that are compatible with your metal roof and have a sleek profile to maintain your roof’s aesthetics. Always obtain a project specific layout for your project and never install snow guards of any type in isolated areas, like just above pipes, chimneys, or doorways.

Installed VentSaver HD With Wing Kit

Install Vent Pipe Snow Guards

Vent pipe protection systems like the  VentSaver EZ and VentSaver HD are installed directly above chimneys, mast pipes, and vent pipes. These products, typically constructed of heavy-duty metals, offer a direct line of protection against sliding snow and ice, by cutting through and forcing it around the pipe, while also adding additional points of structural support. The combination of snow guards and vent pipe snow breaks offers unparalleled safety and security during winter months.

Utilize Vent Pipe Boots

Vent pipe boots, made of durable materials like neoprene or EPDM rubber, fit snugly around vent pipes, creating a weatherproof seal. These boots not only prevent water infiltration but also act as a barrier against sliding snow and ice. Make sure the boots are correctly installed and periodically check for signs of wear, replacing them if necessary.

Use Chimney Caps

Chimney caps are essential accessories that protect your chimney from various elements, including snow and ice. A well-designed chimney cap prevents water and debris from entering while allowing proper ventilation. Opt for a chimney cap with a mesh screen to deter birds and small animals and ensure it fits securely on top of your chimney.

Invest in Heat Cables

Heat cables, also known as heat tapes, are electrically powered cables that can be installed along the edges of your metal roof, as well as around chimneys and vent pipes. These cables generate heat, preventing snow and ice from accumulating and sliding. They are particularly useful in areas prone to heavy snowfall and ice buildup but they can be very expensive to operate.

Regular Maintenance and Inspection

Regular inspections are crucial in identifying potential issues before they escalate. Inspect your metal roof, chimneys, and vent pipes at the beginning and end of the winter season. Look for signs of damage, rust, or loose components. Promptly address any problems you find to ensure your roof remains intact and functional.

Improve Attic Insulation and Ventilation

Proper attic insulation and ventilation play significant roles in preventing ice dams, which can contribute to sliding snow and ice. Adequate insulation keeps the roof surface uniformly cool, preventing snow from melting and refreezing at the edges. Well-maintained ventilation systems ensure a steady flow of air, helping to regulate temperature and minimize ice buildup.

In conclusion, protecting chimneys and vent pipes from sliding snow and ice on a metal roof requires a combination of proactive measures and regular maintenance. By investing in appropriate vent and chimney snow guards, vent pipe boots, chimney caps, heat cables, and ensuring proper insulation and ventilation, you can safeguard your home against winter’s challenges. Remember that a well-maintained metal roof not only enhances the longevity of your property but also provides you with peace of mind during the harshest winter months.


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