In terms of ice dam prevention there are no truly “cheap” solutions. Homeowners must choose from the lesser of three evils: 1) Spend a lot on architectural enhancements, 2) Spend a lot on professional roof shoveling or risk a lot doing it themselves or, 3) Spend a fair amount on heat cables.
Here are the most common locations where ice dams do and do not happen on residential properties. This will help in terms of understanding where the most common heat tape installations occur so you can create a targeted approach to ice dam management
Ice dam basics. Let’s look at a cross-section to discuss the physics. This diagram illustrates the movement of water as it leaks through the roof system and into the home. We also introduce the concept of the “origin zone” (the leading edge of ice dams where leaks originate)
How high up the roof do you need to install heat cable to prevent ice dams on a standard sloped roof system? In this case study we explore the “6 inch rule” in addition to the basics behind standard Ice Dam formation. Heat cable, tracing height is all about soffit depth
When it comes to installing heat tape on metal roofs, roof clamps are a common choice. These devices are relatively simple to install and provide a sturdy anchor point for self-regulating heat cable without any adhesives needed (or penetrations associated with other methods).
Do gutters cause ice dams? Do they make ice dams worse? Is it necessary to install heat cable on the roof to prevent damage from ice dams, or would it suffice to install the cable in the gutters? Let’s look at the relationship between gutters and ice dams
Here is a helpful rendering to show some of the most common areas where heat tape is used for roof and gutter de icing. Click on any of the circled areas to find the product you need. You will be brought directly to the product page and given a lot more information