How to Install De-icing Roof Cables

You may already know that heat cables can help prevent water damage in your home from our last post, but do you know how to install them?  As the performance and longevity of de-icing roof cables hinges on proper installation, it’s important to know how to do it yourself – or hire the right contractor.  Read on to learn about why our roofing experts at Herbert Roofing recommend installing de-icing cables, and how to do it yourself:


How do de-icing cables help prevent water damage?

Many homeowners end up paying the price when ice dams melt and result in home water damage.  We’ve found the best way to prevent leaks and expensive water damage is to install preventative de-icing roof cables.  These cables are affordable, easy-to-install, and most importantly – prevent melted snow from refreezing and forming large ice dams on your home.


How do I install de-icing cables on my home?

For roughly $100 and 2-3 hours of time, de-icing cables can be easily installed and give you peace of mind during the winter season.  Plus, they can be left on your home year-round, making it a low maintenance winter solution that keeps on giving.


Since ice dams are commonly found on the lowest edge of the roof – or “eaves” – most of the heat cables should be installed around the eaves of your home.  You should also consider installing de-icing cables near the gutter and any skylights or chimneys.  Applying the cable in a zig-zag pattern along the eaves will allow water to run off the roof and prevent leaks from ice dams.


Should I install de-icing cables myself?

It depends on your home’s situation and layout.  As we mentioned before, the performance and longevity of de-icing roof cables hinges on proper installation.  Because of this, we do recommend hiring a contractor in more complicated cable installation scenarios.  Here are a few situations in which you may want to call your local roofing company:

  • Electrical Outlet Installation – De-icing cables typically require an outdoor GFCI electrical outlet. If your home does not have one, you’ll need to bring in an electrician and other experts to ensure proper placement.
  • Specialty Roofing Materials – De-icing cables are specifically designed for asphalt shingles. Special considerations and sizing may be required for roofing materials like metal.
  • Increased Sustainability – If you want to ensure your cables are oriented for optimized sustainability, leave it to the professional. It’s an expert’s job to consider the solar orientation of your home and common wind direction when installing heat cables.


Are there any other ways to protect my home from ice dam formation?

Other efforts, such as improved attic insulation and ventilation, can help further control the temperature of your home and ultimate snowmelt.  However, de-icing cables are your best bet in preventing ice dams before they even to begin to form.


Looking for a professional to install your heating cables before the Michigan winter weather rolls in?  Contact us at Herbert Roofing to get started.


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