An ice dam is created when snow melts over a warm section of roof, flows down to the cold eave, refreezes and creates a blockage (or dam) which causes future melt runoff to pool and potentially work its way under your shingles and into your home.
Water leakage from ice dams will likely stain your ceilings and do all kinds of other bad things to your drywall, studs and insulation in your home’s roof and walls.
Short of always shoveling the snow off your roof after a storm, your best solution is to install what are called, roof and gutter heat cable (also called heat tapes or roof de-icing cables) . Roof heating cables can be manually plugged into an outdoor standard or thermostatically controlled outlet or can be wired to a switch and timer in your house. When turned on, they will melt any ice dams that form at the edge of your roof, right above the eaves.
Roof de-icing cables are typically configured in a zig-zig pattern, spanning from the edge of the roof to about a foot or two up. Once installed, whenever you see those long icicles forming off of your roof, turn on the heating cable for a couple hours and they’ll disappear. Scott Wuebber, owner of Dovetail Raingutter located in Bozeman, Montana, says Many homeowners do not need to install heat cable on the roof, if the ice is not creating ice dams that are causing leaks. The most common scenario we see in Montana is when the rain gutter has frozen and melting snow and ice are dripping on steps and sidewalks. The solution is to install heat cable in the gutter and through each downspout.
There are different types of heat cable available. the least expensive is widely available at your local hardware store. The advantage to this type of deicing cable is its price. typically no more than $ 1.00 per foot to purchase. The disadvantages are as follows; the cable can not overlap or touch itself (wire may overheat and burn), the cable is purchased in pre-determined lengths and you have a chance of not enough cable or too left much left over when done installing.
Another type of heat cable is a self regulating heat cable. Self regulating cables will draw more or less voltage depending on the temperature around the cable. Thus, the cable will be warmer when the temperature is colder. Because of the self-regulation, this cable can overlap and touch without overheating. This cable can not be purchased in most hardware stores, installation will be in the range of $ 4.00 to $5.00 per foot.
For a free estimate for heat cable installation on your roof or in the rain gutters contact us at: 406-585-2979 or click here www.dovetailraingutter.com/contactus.html