Ice dams can greatly damage a house, destroying the paint and causing structural complications with the roof, walls, and ceilings. If you are a homeowner struggling to deal with ice dams, one of the greatest investments you can make is roof heating cables. You will notice that once these are installed, all your problems with ice dams will go away.
You can turn on the roof heating cables a couple of hours before the snow forecast in your region. You can then turn them off once all the snow and ice have melted off the roof. Even though you can do this manually, snow sensors are available in the market that will make your work easier.
Why Ice Dams Must be Removed?
If heavy snowstorms routinely occur in your area, there is always a high chance of ice dams forming. When the snow melts, the water starts to run off the roof. However, it will refreeze at the edge of the roof again due to the cold. This happens multiple times during the winters. Eventually, a huge chunk of ice forms on the edges of the roof. The melting snow starts to collect behind this.
If these ice dams are not removed, the trapped snow water will start to make its way down. This can lead to seepage in the walls of your house, along with leaks, completely destroying furniture and causing the paint to wear off. Overall, trapped water has the potential to greatly harm your house. Water damage is no joke.
Which Heating Cable is Right for You?
Most of the roof heating cables you find in the market are made for asphalt roofs. This means that in case you have a metal roof, you must ensure that you find specific cables used for such roofs.
Roof heating cables use unique mini clamps to attach to the metal roof. These clamps are then fastened tightly to the nail strips found on the metal roof. Remember, these differ from the clips that asphalt roofs use. If you choose to buy the raw materials for the heating cable yourself, you must ensure that you do not pick up the wrong clips.
How Much Does It Cost to Operate a Roof Heating Cable?
A roof heating cable may seem like an investment because of the raw materials needed and the cost of installation. However, once you get past this, you only have to pay monthly costs that automatically get added to your electric bill. A roof that is around 150 feet long will utilize 330 feet of heating cable. The cables will use approximately 8 watts of power per foot.
The rate of electricity is approximately 11 cents for one kilowatt per hour. This means that if you have a cable of 290 feet that consumes 55 kWh every day, you will have to pay $6.5 for each day. If the cables constantly run all month, this amounts to a total of $181.50. This can be quite costly, especially if you have to pay it every year. Hence, it is best to use the system when need be.
Simply turn the roof heating cables on when snow or ice starts to accumulate on the roof. You can also invest in a snow sensor that will automatically turn the cables on when it snows. The heating cables can be heated up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
It will take approximately $500 to $600 for every 100 feet of cable installation. However, you can choose to purchase the materials from a local market yourself. This may help you save up some money. You can choose to only pay the price of the labor, especially if you are on a tight budget.
How to Install a Heating Cables?
Installing heating cables is a tricky game. You want them to last long and remain effective. This is why we would recommend hiring a professional to get the job done for you.
Cables need to be placed strategically and fastened properly. An outdoor GFCI outlet will also be used, and you can tell your electrician to bring one if you do not have one.
Moreover, roof heating cables take into consideration the size and shape of the roof. To ensure proper functioning, factors like the direction of the wind and sun need to be paid attention to. Only a professional will be able to tell you whether the cables have been installed properly.
Do the Cables Need to be Removed in Spring?
We would recommend leaving the roof heating cables on the roof all year round. They do not require any maintenance, so you do not have to worry about them rotting with age. All you need to do is ensure that they are only turned on when needed so that you do not waste power or your hard-earned money!
Even though you can always remove the cables from the roof when spring arrives, we would not recommend this. This is mainly because you will mess up the installation process. Usually, cables are resilient in nature and use durable clips to stay in place. They are meant to stay put for decades, so if you tamper with them, you may have to pay the installation costs again.
Roof heating cables can be left on the roof all year long. You can keep them on for as long as you want during the winters, as long as you do not mind paying the electrical bills. However, we would recommend turning the roof heating cables on only when you need to use them.