Pros and Cons of Roof Heating Cables for Ice Dam Prevention

how to prevent ice dams

In certain areas of the United States such as Colorado, the winter months mean extreme cold weather is coming. That includes weather conditions such as snow and ice. Your home, especially the roof, must withstand the icy brunt of all of this weather, so it is important that homeowners care for their roofs as well as gutters by taking preventative measures to ensure that the ice and snow do not create ice dams that can be detrimental to the integrity of the roof.

What Are Ice Dams?


An ice dam is an accumulation of snow on your roof and the development of icicles on the eaves and gutters. When the roof over the attic or upper portion of your home becomes warm enough to melt the underside of the layer of snow of the roof, an ice dam can form. The water will trickle down between the layer of snow and the shingles until it reaches the eave of the roof. That eave stays cold since it extends beyond the side of the house and does not receive warmth from the interior of the attic. 


As the weather freezes and builds up, it grows into a mound of ice known as an ice dam. Those homes with a flatter pitch for the roof are more likely to have that ice dam built up more quickly than other homes with a greater slant in the roof. Gutters, of course, can trap the snow and ice, and this trapping can lead to a solid foundation for the ice dam to develop.

What Are Roof Heating Cables?


ice dam heat cables


Roof heating cables (also called heat tape and heat wire) are essentially hot wires which run up and down your roof to melt snow and ice in an effort to prevent and eliminate the potential for ice dams developing on the overhangs of a roof. For certain roofs, heating cables may be the only option, especially when you have attempted to implement other forms of ice dam prevention. Some roofs simply attract ice dams more than other types, and the homeowners with these roofs will be in desperate need of a solution. The roof heating cables may be a potential solution.


Pros of Using Roof Heating Cables for Ice Dam Prevention


heating cables ice dam


Roof heating cables have a variety of benefits for the prevention of ice dams that may be useful for your home. These advantages include:

  • Preventing the blocking of snowmelt flow even though ice dams may still form
  • Protecting your roof from the devastating effects of the ice dam and the costs associated with fixing the aftermath of ice dam buildup
  • Easy installation, even for a DIY homeowner
  • Functionality in the temperature at which ice dams are likely to form

Installing some type of ice dam preventative measure is an important action for homeowners in Colorado to take so that they do not cause serious structural damage to home once the winter months are over. Roof heating cables may be an option for your home. Contact our ice melt system specialists for more information.

Cons of Using Roof Heating Cables for Ice Dam Prevention


cons of roof heating cables


There are a few disadvantages to consider before you decide to install roof heating cables as an ice dam prevention method. These include:

  • Lack of protection for the entire roof – only the eaves will be protected unless you run supplemental cables
  • Increased electricity bill since the cables run on electricity to generate heat
  • The increased expense for heating cables which are self-regulating
  • Installation needs to be done properly in order for the cables to work effectively
  • Only functional in relatively “warm” cold weather situations

At HotEdge, we are well aware of all of the advantages and disadvantages of roof heating methods, including heating cables. If you are considering installing roof heating cables (or having them installed by a professional contractor), contact HotEdge to discuss all of your options and to help you decide if roof heating cables are the right ice dam prevention method for you.

Contact Our Ice Melt System Specialists


At HotEdge Roof Ice Melt, we understand how frustrating it can be to see that falling snow (though pretty to look at) is causing a serious issue to the structural integrity of the roof of your home. Roof heating cables may provide you peace of mind knowing that your roof is safe and will not be damaged by the snow or buildup of ice. You and your family can enjoy the winter wonderland without worrying what the damage will be once the sun heats everything back up and the roof is revealed once again. Contact us to learn more about our ice melt systems, including roof heating cables, and how they can help prevent ice dams on your Colorado home. We are here to help you rest easy during the cold winter months.


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