Here is how to use roof heaters to prevent ice dams.
We will also be looking at roof and gutter heat tape and cables.
Rain Gutter Heaters And Warmers
Your gutters are among the most important features on your roof.
This is because they ensure that roof water is properly drained downwards. But this is only possible if the gutters are unclogged.
Roof Eave Heater To Combat Ice Dams And Icicles
Many things can clog your gutters, and these include bird nests, rocks, tree leaves, pieces of branches, and ice dams.
Yes, ice dams can clog your gutters, and this will not only prevent proper flow, but the extra weight will also cause the hinges holding the gutters in place to loosen.
Of course, fixing damaged gutters will cost you a lot of money, which is why you have to do what you can to prevent ice dam formation in the first place.
Thankfully, ice dams can be prevented from forming in your gutters with the use of gutter heaters.
Care to find out what they are and how they can help? Then I suggest you read to the end!
What Are Heated Gutters And Downspouts?
A gutter heater is simply a heating cable with a more sophisticated design that involves the use of a cable cover bracket (CCB).
The cable cover bracket is usually made of aluminum material, which is used to encase the heating cable when it’s run through your gutters.
Besides keeping the heat tape enclosed, the aluminum material of the CCB also allows for better heat transfer from the heat tape to the gutter.
And this makes it impossible for melted snow to refreeze into your gutters and form ice dams.
This technology can also be used as roof eave heaters, as it performs the same function and produced the same results.
How Exactly Do They Prevent Ice Dams From Forming In Your Gutters?
The basic idea of preventing ice dam formation in your gutters is to keep them too warm for melted snow to refreeze.
When snow gathers on your roof, it can melt due to the heat from your uninsulated attic or outdoor warmth. And when the melted snow flows down, it will make contact with the cold roof eaves and gutters, then freeze again.
The process is continuous, and as more melted snow refreezes in your gutters, the bigger the ice dam that is formed.
This won’t happen if you have installed gutter heaters already. Once the heating cables have been laid, all you have to do is connect it to an electrical outlet and turn it on.
Basic heating cables will remain warm for as long as it is turned on. And while this keeps your gutters round the clock, it can also spike up your electricity bill.
Self-regulated gutter heaters on the other hand will heat up and cool off according to the outdoor temperature. If the weather gets colder, the heater will produce more heat, and vice versa.
The good thing about self-regulated gutter heaters is that they do not consume as much power as basic water heaters.
Why You Should Also Install Gutter Heaters In Your Downspouts
Keeping your gutters warm and unconducive for ice dam formation is great, but you also have to keep in mind that the melted water will flow down your downspouts.
Here’s the thing, your downspouts can get cold too. And this means that the melted snow flowing down can equally refreeze in your downspouts!
If this happens, then ice dams will form in the downspouts and clog them. The ice dam can also cause the downspouts to crack open, and this will cost you hundreds of dollars in replacement.
Even if the downspouts do not burst open, the ice dam formation can cause the water to back up on the roof.
Installing Gutter Heaters In Your Downspouts
Installing CCB heating cables in your gutters isn’t such a big deal, as all you will need is some clips and basic tools. You will also need to maintain a good footing on the ladder or roof, just so you won’t slip off.
However, installing the gutter heaters in your downspouts is a much harder job. This is because you will have to first disassemble them before the CCB heating cables can be placed inside.
Reassembling the downspouts is also tricky, as you can accidentally damage the heat tape in the process.
That being said, hiring professional help is your best option. They can disassemble and reassemble the downspouts without hassle, and have your heat tapes properly installed inside them.
Gutter Warmers: Do They Work For Ice Dam Prevention?
The general idea behind ice dam prevention is to make your roof unconducive for refreezing. Once this has been achieved, then melted ice will easily flow downwards.
There are several ways to prevent ice dam formation, and using gutter heaters is just one of them.
An example of another ice dam prevention approach is to insulate your attic. By doing so, the heat inside will not escape through the roof and melt the snow.
You can also prevent ice dam formation by regularly raking off the snow on your roof. Remember, it is the melted snow that forms the ice dam in the first place, so getting rid of it while it’s still under 2 inches thick can also help.
That being said, using gutter heaters isn’t a stand-alone solution, as you can combine it with proper attic insulation and raking for best results.
Can I Use Gutter Heaters Without Cable Cover Brackets?
The answer is yes, you can use heat cables without cable cover brackets (CCB). However, using an aluminum or copper CCB around your heat cables will give you better results.
This is because the heat from the heat cables is transferred through the CCB, thus producing more warmth that will better prevent the formation of ice dams in your gutters.
Ice Melt Heat Tapes And Strips For Roofs [Wire, Strips, Coil]
Ice dams can be a homeowners nightmare during the winter season. It can pull off your shingles, cause leakages in your roof, and rip off your gutters and downspouts.
Do you have an ice melt heat wire in your home? Do you think installing such strips is important?
Read more to find out.
Many solutions have been recommended to get rid of ice dams, but one that keeps popping up in discussions is the use of heat cables and tapes.
So what is a rain gutter heat tape and how can it be used to melt ice dams?
Keep reading and you’ll find out!
What Is A Gutter Heat Cable?
A heating cable is a long wire that produces heat to melt parts of an ice dam, which creates a space to allow snow melts to flow away.
It is installed by the roof edges and gutters and plugged into an electrical outlet that generates the power it needs to heat up when turned on.
A regular ice dam heat cable can be left on 24 hours a day all through the winter season. Although experts advise that it should be turned off for a few hours to avoid the production of excessive heat and possible fire outbreaks.
Although there is a more advanced type of roof heat cable known as the self-regulated heat cable.
This type can adjust its heat output according to outdoor temperature levels. It automatically becomes warmer when the temperature drops, and cooler when the temperature rises.
How Does Roof Heat Tape Work?
Using ice melting cables for roofs to prevent ice dams isn’t rocket science, as the working process is very easy to figure out.
First, the heating cable is installed in the areas where the ice dams are likely to form (the edges of your roof and the gutters). They are usually laid in a zig-zag pattern and held to the roof with the use of clips and nails.
After the cable has been installed in the relevant areas, it is plugged into an electrical outlet, which is usually inside the house and turned on.
Once it’s on, it begins to produce warmth, which slowly melts portions of the ice dam away from your roof. If it doesn’t melt the entire ice dam, it will create an opening in-between which will allow subsequent snow melts to flow away.
There are two types of heat tapes –
- Regular heat tape
- Self-regulating heat tape
The regular heat tape produces the same amount of heat for as long as it is turned on since it cannot automatically regulate its output. As for the self-regulating versions, they can adjust the heat output according to the outdoor weather.
The self-regulating heat tapes are more power-efficient than regular heat tapes.
Advantages Of Ice Melting Heat Wires For Roof
Ice dam prevention heat cables have many advantages.
Let’s take a look at them so you can understand why it is a worthy investment to make this winter season.
It keeps ice dams from building up
The major function of roof heating cables is to prevent ice dam formation in the first place.
Ice dams form when heat from one part of the roof melts snow, which rolls down and is refreeze by the colder edges. Accumulation of melted and refrozen snow is what causes the ice dams to grow bigger over time.
However, a heating cable can prevent this from happening.
Once it is installed in the right places, the parts where the melted snow would’ve refrozen will be too warm for any freezing action to take place.
It is a one-time solution for ice dam prevention
There are different steps you can take to prevent ice dam formation on your roof. You can use ice melts, or just keep raking the roof snow away before it can melt and reform into an ice dam.
The problem with the above-mentioned approaches is that they are repetitive processes. However, using roof heating cables offers one-time prevention for ice dam formation.
All you have to do is get it installed once and allow it to do the job during the cold seasons.
It is cheap
A basic roof heating cable costs less than $1 per linear foot, and installation charges by a professional would fall between $190 to $1,000 (depending on the size of the area being covered).
As you can see, heating tapes are inexpensive, and any homeowner should be able to afford them.
The good news is, the heat tape package you buy comes with installation clips, so you don’t even need to buy anymore.
Self-regulating heat tapes don’t consume too much power
Self-regulating heat cables can save you cost on power bills (unlike their basic counterpart). This is because it only produces warmth when the outdoor temperature drops.
But as the temperature increases, the cables will produce less heat, and this helps you save money on electricity bills.
Disadvantages Of Heat Tape For Roofs
Roof tapes are great, but they sure aren’t perfect. Let’s take a look at some of its downsides.
Basic heating cables can shoot up your electricity bill
Unlike the self-regulating heat cables, the basic version is always producing heat. It doesn’t have a regulatory thermostat, which means it cannot adjust according to the outdoor temperature.
The constant production of heat can add a few extra dollars to your monthly power bill. So you might need to turn it off at intervals.
It can cause fires
One of the biggest dangers of basic heat tapes is that they can lead to a fire outbreak.
If it is left on and there is no ice for it to melt, it will begin to heat the woodwork on your roofing and other roofing materials. This can in turn cause a fire on your roof.
This is why homeowners are advised to use self-regulating heat cables rather than the basic ones.
Gutter heaters can help you prevent ice dam formation.
Don’t forget to install them in your downspouts too. Doing so will ensure that the melted snow doesn’t refreeze inside the pipes and clog them.
Heat cables for roofs have proven to be very useful in ice dam control. They are also cheap and easy to install, just do so before the winter season comes.
Also, I advise using self-regulated heat tape along with the CCB. This will regulate the temperature automatically and save you money on electricity bills.
I hope this piece has been helpful.