A severe ice storm in 1998 caused the collapse of many hydro and communication towers in eastern Ontario, Canada. Radial ice build-up on guy cables was responsible for some of the damage. Guy cables became detached from their anchors, causing towers to collapse. As temperatures rose after the ice storm was over, the conductive properties of the steel cables warmed up first caused the heavy ice that had collected on the guys to melt from the inside out, causing the radial ice to slide down the guys with increasing velocity. As the large chunks of ice accelerated down the guy cables at a rapid rate, they encountered the end of the preformed guy-grips that attached the guys to the anchor. The impact force was so great that the sliding, cylindrical ice pushed the guys out of the performed guy-grips, causing the tower to collapse.
We install properly designed ice guards or ice breakers to prevent this from happening. These ice breakers are made of stainless steel, come in different sizes and are engineered to split sliding ice and break it apart before it can reach the pre formed guy grips, thus ensuring tower integrity even during inclement weather. Installation of these ice breakers are of particular importance on roof-top mounted towers.
An extra stainless steel plate on the ice guard is designed for the connection of stranded, bare copper grounding cables that should be attached to each guy at each anchor. Galvanic corrosion resulting in greater resistance is reduced by using copper to stainless steel transitions. This prevents galvanic reaction between the zinc of the guy strands and the copper of the grounding cable and ensures a good discharge path for lightning induced currents.
If proper ice guards are not available, hot-dipped galvanized or stainless steel wire clips should be used and attached about 6" above the upper end of the preformed wire grips that are being used. This will provide an artificial barrier to radial ice sliding down the guy cables, helping to prevent accelerating ice from pushing guys out of preformed guy grips.