Using Heat Tape To Create A Heated Gutter
Heat tape is a cable that heats up enough to melt snow and ice, but not enough to cause damage to your home. It is essential that the cable be turned on just prior to snowfall for optimal results. Heated cable for your roof and gutters is a necessity in areas with very harsh winters, and heavy snowfall.
We install the heated cable into your gutters and downspouts under a gutter guard system. The heated cable prevents ice and snow from building up in your gutter system —helping to prevent the formation of an ice dam and water from entering your home. Using this method will help prevent many concerns associated with ice dams. During harsh winters, homeowners can experience unprecedented damage due to ice damming leading to greater repair costs.
What Causes Ice Damming?
There are a variety of reasons behind this problem. The most common reasons for ice damming are:
- Radiant heat created from sunlight warming roof shingles
- Rapid temperature fluctuations from day to night
- Poor soffit ventilation
- Lack of a ridge vent on the peak of the roof
- Poorly insulated attic space
- Lack of a gutter protection system
The lower the pitch of a roof, the faster ice damming can occur. Many clients experience ice damming near bathroom vents and chimneys because of the changes in temperature.
When installing heat tape, there are many things to consider. One aspect you need to consider is spacing, depending on the pitch of the roof and the length of the soffit. We typically have to install an exterior outlet in the soffit to plug the heat cable into. We also need to consider the amount of electricity the heated cable will draw. We will often install an extra breaker in the main electrical panel, just for the heat tape. Since the heat tape does not stay on all the time, we install a light switch in a convenient location in your home for you to turn the cable on and off as needed. This switch has a red light that glows when the heat cables are engaged. This light helps you be aware that they are working, but also reminds you to turn the heat cable off when you don’t need it on.