One thing any homeowner will tell you is that ice is one of the biggest pains of winter. It can create slick sidewalks and icicles that hang from gutters.
Ice that builds up across your roof and in your gutters can lead to ice dams, which can cause damage to the exterior and interior of your home. So, it stands to reason that ice poses a threat to not only your home, but to the safety of yourself and family.
Keep reading as we discuss smart deicing solutions you can try and how they rate for efficiency.
De-icing Heating Cables
If you are concerned about ice dams forming, you may want to try heating cables. A heating cable is a heavy-duty electrical cord that heats up enough to melt snow and ice. They are usually installed in a zigzag pattern across the eaves of the roof.
Heating cables work very well if they are properly installed. They will not totally clear the roof of snow, but they melt the ice around them. This gives enough space for snowmelt to run off into your gutters.
So, while ice dams can still form, they can’t block the flow of water. This is what protects the roof from damage. Unfortunately, they do not affect the entire roof, so ice dams can still form in other locations. Supplemental cables can help address this problem.
Heat tape is similar to heating cables, but it is built to form an opening under the ice dam just big enough to move any water that is trapped above the ice dam to drain off the roof.
Heat tape can only melt a small area of ice at a time, so your gutters will remain full of ice, and if a downspout gets blocked that could spell real trouble.
If you decide to use heated mesh, you will install them under the shingles of the roof, not on top of them. For best results, have the heated mesh installed the same time as the roof is installed.
So, this is a great option if you're getting a new roof, or if you are building a new home. The mesh works similar to heat tape in the sense that the heating source is placed under the shingles of the roof, not over them. This causes snow to melt and flow down to the gutters.
A heated pan is a type of metal flashing that is built to cover a protrusion in the roof, so that the heated pan melts ice on the section. But it cannot help ice dams forming in other areas of the roof. This is because ice dams can cover large areas on low-slope roofs and cause major leaks.
In conclusion, heating cables are probably the most common and most effective at deicing. There are some that think that heating cables are only functional to about -9 degrees.
But that is ok, because ice dams are caused by snow melting, and there is not much of a chance that snow will melt in such cold anyways. In other words, ice dams won’t form in such extreme weather anyhow.
Learn about how snow storms can wreak havoc on your gutters.