Heat cable and your gutter system-Every winter one of the biggest concerns for homeowners is ice. Ice is a nuisance. Whether it’s on your driveway, the highway, or on your gutters it poses a serious threat. Snow building up in your gutters and turning to ice can cause expensive damage. Both your roof and your home are at risk. Its called Ice Damming.
Contrary to popular belief, gutters are not to blame for ice dams! Rather, ice dams are caused when heat escapes from the home causing the snow on the roof to melt. The snow then freezes at the overhang and can build up in the gutters. Therefore, potentially lifting the shingles and causing extensive water damage inside the home. For more information watch Ken Parsons video on Ice Damming
In an article from This Old House, a homeowner expresses their concern for ice clogging their gutters during the winter season. She writes,
Last winter, we had a serious problem with ice clogging our gutters. And every time it melted a bit during the day, the overflow would spill onto the walkway and driveway and refreeze at night into a sheet of ice. How can we stop this from happening?
The solution is easy. If dangerous walkways and ice dams are a concern maybe you should consider getting a heat cable. A heat cable is essentially an electrical cord that gets hot enough to melt snow and ice. Wondering if they’re really worth it? Well, the truth is they’re only worth it if done correctly. There are several methods companies use to install heat cables, the most popular being the zigzag pattern. When installed, they make a triangle pattern on the first 3ft of the roof. It is then lined inside of the gutter and downspout with the cable. However, this method was proven to cause more damage to the roof overtime. This was in comparison to not having a heat cable at all.
The Pros On Heat Cable
In our professional opinion, your best option is getting a higher density heat cable that puts out more heat and is only installed on the inside of the gutters and downspouts. This way you’re only heating the gutters. This method, combined with gutter guards works great because when you put the gutter guard on, it traps all the heat inside allowing the whole system to stay warm. Therefore when snow on the roof starts to melt, it will hit a warm gutter guard and a warm gutter allowing your gutters to only deal with water and not ice.
We recommend heat cables to clients who are concerned with ice creating a fall hazard at the entrance of their homes. But you don’t need heat cables on the whole house, just where you are experiencing ice. Heat cables are also a great idea for homeowners who have poorly insulated homes. Investing in a heat cable won’t fix the problem, however it will reduce some of the energy being lost from the attic.
If you’re worried about heat cables ruining the curb appeal of your home, don’t worry you can’t even see it. It lies inside the gutter, and goes down the downspouts where it then connects to an electrical service. You might see a foot of cable at the bottom of the downspout where has to connect to an electrical box, however it can be easily disguised.
This is not a DIY project, heat cables should be installed by a certified electrician working with a reputable gutter company. If you don’t gave your own electrician please call our office at 845-223-6111 for a list of quality, Brother’s Gutters approved electricians! Remember, now is a great time to invest in heat cables. So call us today!