In Indiana, we never really know what to expect in terms of winter weather. Some winters are mild and quick, while others are icy and harsh. This is just one of many reasons why it is important for homeowners to prepare for any and all possible winter conditions that can affect the structural integrity and safety of their property. A great time to start on winter home protection is before the snow and ice is here; and a great place to start is the roof and gutters.
Some homeowners have had great success using gutter heat cable to protect their gutter and roofing system from ice and water damages. Continue reading to learn more about gutter heat cable, including what they are and where to get them!
Gutter Heat Cable
Many confuse gutter heat cable with heat tape, which is an insulated electrical wire installed in plumbing pipes to prevent freezing pipes, and ultimately, pipe bursts. In contrast to heat tape, gutter heat cable is used on roofs and gutters for the purpose of winter weather protection. Its primary role in winter weather protection is to help prevent freezing and ice dams along roof eaves, and within gutters and downspouts.
If frozen water were to accumulate in these areas of a property, it can lead to severe structural damages in a short amount of time, including interior leaks, ceiling and wall damage, shingle damage, gutter and downspout damage, foundation instability, and more. Ice dams and accumulation can also pose several safety risks, such as falling ice block hazards, outdoor slip and fall hazards, and more. See our blog, “Advice for Weather-Proofing Your Roof” to learn more about ice dams and winter weather protection for roofing systems.
Purchasing and Installation
Gutter heat cable is suitable for both residential and commercial properties, and can be purchased online or at any local home improvement store. Just be sure to choose a UL-listed brand that has been tested by Underwriter’s Laboratories. Even though you can purchase heat cable on your own, it is not recommended to install it on your own. Gutter heat cable is a very sensitive product that requires strict internal safety codes for installation.
Improper installation or using an incorrect product type could lead to electrical shock hazards, or even house fires. Furthermore, it requires specialized setups; for instance, they have to be plugged into a GFCI (ground-fault circuit-interrupter) outlet. For these reasons, it is critical to always have gutter heat cable installed by a licensed Indianapolis roofing contractor to ensure professional and accurate results. Even if you are experienced with construction, you do not want to risk voiding any warranties.
If your home is already equipped with gutter heat cable, be sure to have it inspected by a professional roofer to ensure it is still in good condition and set to perform. If your property’s gutter heat cable is more than 5 years old, it could be too aged and deteriorated, which is a serious safety hazard. In this case, it is strongly encouraged to have it all professionally replaced.