Starlink Snow Melt: A Convenient Feature For Harsh Winters

Sometime around December 2020, Starlink introduced the Starlink snow melt feature. The introduction may have risen from recurrent user complaints of snow affecting Starlink’s performance.  Living in a snow-prone area might degrade your Starlink internet …

A snow covered satellite dish

Sometime around December 2020, Starlink introduced the Starlink snow melt feature. The introduction may have risen from recurrent user complaints of snow affecting Starlink’s performance. 

Living in a snow-prone area might degrade your Starlink internet experience.

However, the Starlink snow melt configuration makes it easier to maintain the quality of your internet service during heavy snow.

The three snow melt modes depend on power consumption to get rid of snow on the dish. 

We’ll explore all three snow melt options and show you how to set the Starlink dish to melt snow so you don’t have to climb the roof every time there’s snowfall. 

Table of Contents

Disrupted internet connection 

Disrupted internet connection 

The Starlink satellite dish is designed for outdoor use to grab you the clearest signal from low-earth Space X satellites.

It works best when the dish is clear of any material, including dirt that may create a barrier. 

According to Starlink, weather conditions such as rain, wind, and snow can affect your internet connection.

Negative effects from adverse weather changes could cause a temporary outage, slow speeds, or complete outage.

In extreme circumstances, bad weather, including snow, can wreck the inner mechanics of the Starlink satellite dish. 

Snow accumulation on the Starlink dish is especially bothersome. Not only does it hinder signal exchange, but it also risks overwhelming the motor function

A blocked field of view from snow accumulation means you cannot experience the top speeds to which you’re accustomed. 

Heavy build-up slows down any movement of the automatic motor.

After struggling to re-adjust for a long time, friction might corrode the gears in the Starlink satellite motor.

Consequently, the dish may get irreparable damage, making you replace it.

It’ll cost you time and money to get a new dish. Additionally, you might be without internet service for the period it takes to replace your snow-damaged dish. 

Removing snow manually from a roof

Removing snow manually from a roof

You can manually clear snow off your Starlink dish. However, going to the dish’s mounting location every time is impractical.

It makes sense if there’s residual snow that won’t melt away or if there’s icicle buildup. But automatic snow melting is more convenient. 

To that end, Starlink introduced a firmware update that enabled Starlink dishes to melt away snow automatically. 

The new generation rectangular Starlink Dish, Dishy 2, comes with an  IP54 waterproof and dust-proof rating.

The dish is cleared to work at sub-22-degree Fahrenheit temperature.  The Dishy 2’s can melt 1.5 inches of snow on its surface every hour.  

And the best part is you can control this snow melt feature right from the Starlink app in the comfort of your home. 

There are three snow melt settings. 

AutomaticThis mode detects snow automatically and heats up the dish to melt off snow. 
Pre-heatThe pre-heat mode keeps the dish warm as long as the setting is on. It is suitable for preventative measures against snow buildup. 
OffThe off option keeps the snow melt feature off to reduce power consumption. 

Starlink snow melt isn’t only optionally automatic. It is also easy. Here’s a quick procedure. 

  1. Go to your smartphone’s Starlink app. 
  2. Open the settings from the menu.
  3. On the Settings page, tap the Starlink option. You should find ‘snow melt’ right below.
  4. Tap the snow melt option to open the three options. 

Choosing The Best Snow Melt Option

The best snow melt for Starlink dish option depends on your location, weather, and power consumption limits. 

Automatic Snow Melt

The automatic setting is the default snow melt setting. Starlink suggests setting this option as the recommended setting. 

Under the automatic setting, the dish sets and adjusts power consumption between maximum efficiency and snow melting.

The power only amps up when there’s snow buildup. Otherwise, the consumption stays normal and prevents needless power draw. 

This setting is the ideal setting in an area with constant snowfall. It also works against icicles if your dish is low or prone to ice buildup. 

Pre-Heat Mode

Pre-heat mode is a preventative setting. It’s great for winter and when you expect heavy snowfall. 

Under this setting, the dish warms up beforehand. Consequently, the dishy’s power consumption spikes. 

To avoid excessive power usage, you must switch the setting back to automatic. 

Off Mode

If you’re asking yourself if off mode is important in melting off snow from the Starlink dishy, you’re right.
While it won’t melt snow, the off mode is vital for saving power. 

Starlink is currently global. Therefore, there are areas with no snowfall.

In such areas, the dish snow melt option has to stay in off mode to utilize power better. 

Even in areas with winter seasons, off mode is better in no-snow seasons such as summer and autumn. 

Starlink snow melt increases power consumption to raise heat. Under normal circumstances, it operates between 50 and 75 watts.

It will raise consumption when there’s continuous snow. Also, it’ll lower consumption when the snow clears off. 

For a machine that can clear 40 mm of snow in one hour, it’s efficient. If you’re using Starlink in your permanent residence, power consumption might not be too big of a concern.

However, it is a different concern if you’re living off-grid and need every watt to stay online. 

Just because Starlink has the snow melt feature doesn’t mean it doesn’t work in snow. 

Several users have tested Starlink download speeds as it snows and reported full function on their dishes. 

However, there’s still a cause for concern. Depending on where you mount your dish and the prevailing snow level, your Starlink dish could get mechanical damage to the point of not working. 

If the Starlink dish is buried in heavy snow, you will get a ‘Starlink Motors Stuck’ pop-up message in your app.

At this point, you may have to manually clear the snow off the dish to get it working again. 

Icicles melting on a roof with a satellite dish

Icicles melting on a roof with a satellite dish

Starlink’s automatic and pre-heat modes don’t have enough to instantly melt all the snow on a dish.

Therefore, icicles might form on the dishy’s edges as the snow melts. Unless the conditions are extremely cold, icicles will melt gradually. 

They will not affect the dishy’s performance. 

Still, if there’s a potentially threatening buildup that might compromise the dishy’s operation, remove the snow and icicles manually. 

Can You Prevent Snow Buildup?

Since we’ve established snow isn’t a complete hindrance to the dishy’s performance, you can use preventative methods to avoid using the snow melt feature. 

Use a different mount.

Having your dish mounted low on a flat surface increases its chances of getting buried in snow in a heavy snowstorm.

Therefore, use a mount that elevates the dish to a higher point.

A J-mount positions the dish such that snow can hardly accumulate on the dish without sliding off.

Ensure you mount the dish in an easily accessible location in case you need to remove snow manually. 

Use Satellite dish covers.

Dish covers are a temporary solution to keeping snow off your dishy. They are affordable plastic covers that don’t affect the dishy’s performance.

They’ll keep your power consumption low, and you can remove them for safe disposal. 

Final Thoughts

Starlink continues cementing itself as a reliable service provider dedicated to readily available internet. 

The snow melt feature is another addition to a growing list of conveniences meant to enhance the user experience for Starlink subscribers. 

We’d love to hear about your personal experiences with the feature, especially after winter.