What to Consider Before Installing a Satellite Dish On Your Roof

satellite-antennaMost avid television lovers are not satisfied with regular cable and quickly upgrade to a satellite dish. More and more homeowners across the country choose a satellite system without thinking too much about installation. Before climbing up the roof or balcony and drilling holes for a satellite dish, consider a few important factors first.

Satellite Dish Property Guidelines

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), property owners and certain apartment residents can install satellite dishes on roofs. Property owners have the right to install dishes that are one meter or less in diameter. FCC authorizes antennas and dishes on all properties including houses, coops, condominiums, and townhouses to install satellite dishes of acceptable size, except in Alaska there is no size restriction. Such regulations apply only to "exclusive use" spaces like balconies or terraces and do not include public areas like lobbies or stairways. A homeowner can drill the necessary holes for installation since they own the property exclusively.

FCC regulations specify that apartment dwellers can have a dish installed if it is smaller than a meter in diameter and placed entirely within the resident's rented space. Installed satellite dishes cannot pose danger to other tenants and the respective cables must not attach to anything outside of the building. Most importantly, FCC guidelines prohibit any drilling through windows and exterior walls. The acceptable alternative is to run a "flat" cable under a window or door slot without physically altering walls or doors. Renters who were unaware of FCC regulations and installed a dish in common areas or by drilling holes will likely receive claims for damages from the property owner.

Weather Disruptions

Unlike a cable box that sits comfortably in the house, a satellite dish must bear fluctuating weather from fair to torrential. Modern technology has improved satellite reception but these systems still need a clear line of sight to get the best quality. Aside from dealing with buildings and trees partially eclipsing signal strength, dishes must withstand severe wind, rain, snow, and sleet from drastically breaking the vital clear line. Snow or other debris accumulates on the roof and often obstructs signal path to the satellite. During the blistering heat of summer, a dish facing directly at the sun will overheat in no time. Weather disruptions are common and even the slightest fault in placement or positioning severely affects performance.

Perfect Placement and Positioning

The best possible reason not to install a satellite dish without professional help is the conundrum of proper placement. Many property owners and residents do not realize the drastic difference an inch or slight angle shift can make. Typically, there are few clear paths for the dish to face, especially in urban cities. Many objects like buildings, billboards, or trees weaken satellite signals so the dish must face the side of the broadcaster, unless it rotates. Never place the dish on the low side of the roof where debris or snow accumulates most. This increases signal interference and service interruptions. Before placing satellite dishes, expert roofing specialists consider important factors like limiting exposure to sun and finding the strongest signal reception.

Satellite Dish Restrictions

Everyone must follow specific guidelines for dish installation but there are also restrictions to protect both property owners and tenants. According to the FCC, approval is not necessary to install dishes and prohibits any owner from delaying or preventing such installation. Reversely, tenants cannot puncture or otherwise damage any property and must stay within their exclusive space. FCC also prohibits any attachments outside of the property except in certain properties. This includes historic or landmark buildings that need safety attachments outside to prevent destruction from heavy winds or storms.

Installing a satellite dish is not impossible for those with little to no experience - but it can be extremely difficult. Hiring professionals often saves money because the installation will be more secure than a DIY job, and you'll protect yourself and your property from damage.

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