Roof Heating Cables
An ice dam is created when snow melts over a warm section of roof, flows down to the cold eave, refreezes and creates a blockage (or dam) which causes future melt runoff to pool and potentially work its way under your shingles and into your home. Water leaking from an ice dam will first show up in the attic. You may see ice forming on the trusses or plywood sheathing. Next is when the water begins to drip through the ceiling into your living space. The best thing you can do now is to take a screwdriver and push a small hole through the drywall at the center of the drip. This will allow the water to escape from above the ceiling reducing the diameter of the damage.
Short of always shoveling the snow off your roof after a storm, your best solution is to install what are called, roof and gutter heat cable (also called heat tape or roof de-icing cable). Depending on the length of cable and how many amps it draws you may be able to power the cable by plugging the heat tape into an existing outlet (Its always best to avoid the use of extension cords).
Roof de-icing cables are typically configured in a zig-zig pattern, spanning from the edge of the roof to about a foot or two up. Once installed, whenever you see those long icicles forming off of your roof, turn on the heating cable for a couple hours and they’ll disappear. Scott Wuebber, owner of Dovetail Raingutter located near Bozeman, Montana, says Many homeowners do not need to install heat cable on the roof, if the ice is not creating ice dams that are causing leaks, we just need to keep the water flowing through the rain gutter and only need the heat cable in the gutter & downspout.
The most common scenario we see in Montana is when the rain gutter has frozen and melting snow and ice are dripping on steps and sidewalks. Often the best solution is to install heat cable in the gutter and through each downspout in the areas over the sidewalk.
There are different types of heat cable available. the least expensive is widely available at your local hardware store. The advantage to this type of deicing cable is its price. Average cost per foot is $ 1.00. The disadvantages are as follows; the cable shouldn't overlap or touch itself (wire may overheat and burn); the cable is purchased in pre-determined lengths, and you have a chance of not enough cable or too much left over when done installing.
Another type of heat cable is a self-regulating heat cable. Self-regulating cables will draw more or less voltage depending on the temperature around the cable. Thus, the cable will be warmer when the temperature is colder. Because of the self-regulation, this cable can overlap and touch without overheating. This cable can't be purchased in local hardware stores.
Give Dovetail Raingutter, located in Belgrade Montana a call. We design & install heat cable for your roof & rain gutters contact us at: 406-585-2979
We also provide Emergency Ice Dam Removal.