Before winter arrives, one of the most important structures in your home to prepare for the winter is your roof and gutters. As snow falls on the surface of the roof, ice may potentially start to form if it piles up. Two things may happen as a result.
First, an ice dam may begin to develop over the edge of the roof. Second, as the ice on your roof gets thicker and thicker, your roof will have an added burden pressing down onto it. These could pose more significant problems and dangers to the house, which is why many homeowners install heating cables to manage them.
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What Is A Heating Cable?
Heating cables, also known as heat cables, heat trace cable or roof deicers, is a pretty straightforward concept. These are electric cables that are run all along the roof, gutters, skylights, and even with your plumbing where ice can form.
Those cables generate heat to prevent ice from forming. Not all heat cables are made the same with some being better than others. Hence why we’ve covered the top 6 heat cables that you can buy online for your roofs and gutters.
Top 6 Heat Cables For Roofs & Gutters
As the name suggests this is a self-regulating heat cable by H&G Lifestyles. It’s designed to prevent the formation of ice dams and keep your roof ice-free. It’s specially made for metal gutters, plastic gutters, downspouts, and inclined roofs with non-combustible shingles.
You could safely overlap this heat cable on your roof without having to worry about shorts or burnouts. It’s also completely maintenance-free. The easy-installation means all you have to do is lay the cable out, plug it in, and flip on the switch to make it work for roofs of all kinds.
The cable itself uses a tough XLPE insulation that keeps it safe, and the weather-resistant PVC will protect it from mother nature. Inside, it’s got a copper core that’s a great conductor of both electricity and heat. Plus, since it’s a self-regulating heat cable, it’ll help you save on energy costs.
Easy Heat ADKS-1000 De-Icing Kit
The Easy Heat ADKS-1000 Roof Snow De-Icing Kit heat cable comes in many different lengths, so you can choose one that fits your needs perfectly. Just like the previous heat cable, this one will work well on most roof configurations, and it’s simple to install. It even comes with six-packs of clips for you to run it exactly where you need it to be on your roof. Once installed there’s no need for maintenance at all.
The inside of the deicer provides a fixed amount of resistance, and it’s made pre-terminated which makes it safe and efficient for residential use. All-in-all, this is clearly a great choice to keep your roof and gutters free of ice. While you're at it, don't forget about gutter guards to keep your gutters debris free as well.
Frost King RC60
Frost King produced the RC60 heating cable which is ideal for almost any type of roof configuration you have. The product even comes packaged with cable spacers and shingle clips that’ll make installation even easier. You can line your entire roof with the heating cable and then clip them in place, so they’ll never move or shift on their own. With that, you can rest assured that your roof will receive well-distributed heating, keeping any ice dams from forming.
Heat Cable for Pipe Freeze Protection
Radiant Solutions went above and beyond when they designed this self-regulating heat cable. With the built-in thermostat, the cable will only turn on when it's 37 degrees out. Once it reaches 50 degrees, the line will automatically shut off. So, in simple terms, it saves you loads of energy by giving you just the right amount of heating.
With this heating cable, you could also install it either inside or outside of pipes with running water. It doesn’t matter if it's a PVC pipe, ABS, PEX, or any other type of material. It can act perfectly fine when it's in direct contact with water or even the soil and it’s built for durability.
The outer jacket is made of commercial-grade materials which give it a longer lifespan, and it won’t short or burn out if the cable overlaps itself.
This is the perfect heating cable for pipes and it was built by HEATIT, a company that’s been in the business for over 30 years.
This pre-assembled heating cable works perfectly well with pipes of all materials, whether it's plastic or metal. It’ll turn on automatically when the temperature drops too low. You can set it up and forget about it, as it’ll do the job all on its own.
The cable comes with a grounded plug with a built-in light and a thermostat. The inner insulation is made out of tough XLPE while the outer layer is weather-resistant PE. To put it simply, this is one tough heating cable that you won’t have to worry about once you’ve set it up. It’ll stand up to even the harshest of weather conditions, and you can trust it to do its job in keeping your pipes from freezing over.
Prime Wire: Cable Roof & Gutter De-Icing Kit
The Roof & Gutter de-icing kit by Prime Wire & Cable is specially designed to work on inclined, tab-shingle roofs, downspouts and gutters. Once it’s set up, it’ll keep ice dams from forming, allowing water to flow naturally through your gutters and downspouts.
The kit itself generates about 500W worth of heat. The plug includes an indicator light that’ll tell you whenever there’s power going through the cable to generate heat. Meaning you won’t have to touch it up close just to figure out if it’s working.
Inside the package, it comes with shingle clips and spacers for an even easier installation. All you have to do is lay the cable out over your roof and gutters evenly, and then clip it in place. That way, it’ll never move over time and heat will always distribute evenly over your roof’s surface.
Heating Cable Buying Guide
So, now that you’ve seen six of the best heat cables for roofs and gutters, how do you pick the best one for your home? Here are a few things to consider:
Length: First of all, you need to make sure that you choose a heat cable that’s the right length. To do that, you need to figure out two things. First, you need to figure out how much of your roof’s surface, gutters, downspouts, and pipes you’d like to cover with the heat cable.
Then, you’ll also need to figure out the pattern in which you’d like to install them on your roof. For example, some people prefer straight lines, while others might install heating cables in a spiral pattern. All of this factors into the length of the cable that you’ll be purchasing.
Power: Consider the amount of energy that you want the heating cable to use. Some cables heat more than others, though you might not need that much heat depending on your area.
Bear in mind that this will affect your overall energy consumption, and may drive up your power bill during the winter months. To know how much power you’ll need from a heat cable, consider the snowfall in your location. Don’t be afraid to consult your local hardware store or even your neighbors.
Self-Regulating: Pick a self-regulating heat cable. That means that it’ll turn on and off depending on the temperature of the surface. That way, you won’t have to do it every time manually, and possibly forget to turn it on or off at the right time.
Pre-Assembled: With a pre-assembled heat cable, you’ll have a lot less fuss to deal with in setting up the line. Plus, unless you’ve got the skills and experience, it would probably be a lot safer to buy a pre-assembled product instead of attempting to put a roof de-icing kit together by yourself.
Safety: Don’t forget to consider any safety features that might get included in the heat cable kit. Some may have built-in thermostats or automatic cut-offs and protection. If you want more peace of mind, it may be worth the extra price to get a heat cable that has added safety features.
Before winter arrives you'll also want to make sure to apply roof sealant to deal with the harsh weather of winter.