Roof De-Icing Technologies

As Canadians are enjoying the warm weather and the sunny outdoors, even mentioning winter seems like a dampener. But it will soon be a reality that you’ll have to deal with. The question is, how prepared are you to tackle it?

Those icicles hanging at the edge of the roof seems like a distant proposition that you do not even want to think about, right now. But come winter, it will bring with it one of the worst things for your home, ice-dams.

Ice-dams are formed when the accumulated snow on a roof melts and then refreezes at the eaves, which is much colder than the rest of the roof. When this ice refreezes again and again, it limits the drainage of the melted water and this water begins to pool and back up into the shingles. Eventually, it can lead to structural damage.

The damage can be extremely expensive to repair and a simple gutter and roof de-icing system can help protect your home from ice dams.


Heat Trace Cables are an effective and an economical solution for a wide range of applications in the house. It can be used for floor heating, pipe freeze protection, roof and gutter de-icing, and snow melting. While it does not completely melt the ice forming along the eaves, it forms pathways that allows the melted water to run off into the downspout and prevents the gutters from getting clogged.

There are two different types of heat trace cables. One is a self-regulating cable and the other one is a constant wattage cable.

  • Self-Regulating Heat Cable: These cables have a special conductive polymer core between the two bus wires that varies its output and automatically becomes more conductive during cold conditions. So, if the weather gets colder, the cable automatically increases its wattage per lineal foot. This varies along its entire length and hence, it is an ideal choice for antifreeze applications in exposed pipes, roofs, shingles etc. Also, the cable automatically reduces its wattage in warmer conditions. Despite the name, the cable does not switch on/off automatically and a thermostat needs to be used for the system to work.
  • Constant Wattage Heating Cables: These cables do not have a conductive core and have the same wattage per lineal foot across the entire length. It is not affected by the ambient temperature or the contents of the pipe. Since it requires a constant output, it consumes more energy and is typically used in indoor applications or in driveways, stairs or parking lots.


The first and most important benefit of using a heat tracing system is to prevent water from freezing inside pipes. The system helps maintain the ambient temperature within pipes which in turn prevents frost from building up and pipes from bursting due to water expansion.

The cables can also be used under your driveway, stairs, parking lot or pathway to keep it free from snow and ice build-up.

To know how you can install a self-regulating heat tracing cable, speak to a floor-heating specialist in your area today.