Should I Install Heat Cables?

Heat Cables

Heat cables are also known as heat wires or heat tapes. They are simply hot wires that facilitate the melting of snow on your roof. They are considered an effective way of preventing ice buildup on the overhangs and valleys of your roof.

Sometimes you may notice icicles and probably think they may cause trouble. However, you don’t worry about them; what you should be worried about is the formation of ice dams. They can force under the shingles even if your roof is still in perfect shape. In worst cases, the watertight seal can get broken, and that’s the beginning of your roofing problems.

Factors To Consider

Note that heat cables aren’t designed to melt ice that has already formed on a roof. Therefore, if there is a substantial ice buildup on your roof, it’s advisable to carry out an effective roof snow removal then install the heat cables to prevent further snow build up. These cables shouldn’t be installed on flat roofs or metallic roofs.

Here is what you should consider before you decide to install a roof heat cable to prevent the formation of ice dams.

Heat Cables Are Only Used When Ice Is Melting On Roofs

In most cases, ice melts when the temperatures are between -9 and 2 degrees. You shouldn’t expect these cables to melt ice or anything else freezing on your roof. Since ice dams form and damage your roof only when the snow melts and refreezes rapidly, heat cables can prevent them.

De-Icing Heat Cables For Eavestroughs

Such cables aren’t perfect for melting the ice that has already accumulated in the eaves troughs. Besides, running these cables in the bottom of your gutters is a complete waste of time, money, and other resources. This is because when heat cables are laid directly against metal, the generated heat will only transfer to the metal rather than melting the ice. Therefore, if you’re battling with iced gutters, heat cables isn’t the best option.

Benefits Of Roof De-Icing Cables

The following are the benefits of roof de-icing cables:

  • When installed properly with the right supplies, these cables are very effective.
  • They are more affordable as compared to fixing the damages associated with ice dams.
  • Heat cables can serve as a temporary solution if you intend to replace the roof or improve it in the future.

Limitations Of Roof De-Icing Cables

  • For the cables to work perfectly, they must be installed past the roof edge and above where the ice dams form otherwise they won’t work.
  • In case your eavestroughs have large amounts of accumulated ice that bridges to the roof, the cables can’t prevent the formation of ice dams.
  • The cables can only be installed when there is no ice on the roof.
  • Heat cables lack thermostats. You must turn them on or off manually.

Generally, it’s fair to say that these cables are an excellent temporary fix for various ice issues. However, they must be installed before the ice starts forming.