DIY Roof Repair Winter Prep: Installing Heat Tape

A build up of Ice is among the most hazardous conditions for your roof during winter. The entire home is at risk since even minor ice buildup can cause hazardous fissures and harm to the roofing structure, gutters, attic, and siding. By using heat cables, this risk is  reduced, heat tape is another name for it.

Installing heat tape is the perfect fall DIY roof maintenance that you don’t need to call a professional roofing contractor for. This roof project is best done it summer or fall, we recommend installing heat tape in the fall, so homeowners can see if any roof damage occurred during summer storms. If you notice any roof damage that needs repair during the installation of heat tape, be sure to call a reputable roofing company to do a free inspection.

Installing heat tape can be done as a part of fall gutter cleaning and inspecting maintenance.

Be safe

We encourage all homeowners to review our ladder safety guide before stepping foot on a ladder. Every year there are multiple injuries to homeowners who have accidents on their roofs. 

How Do Heat Cables Work?

Any chilly climate with a chance of ice formation benefits greatly from the installation of heat cable. This cable is intended to be installed along places where the formation of ice dams is a possibility. This typically occurs inside the gutters and downspouts of the house, as well as along the eaves. When properly positioned, it acts to stop ice from accumulating in certain places.

Why install heat tape?

Ice dam formation can be avoided by using heat tape or cable. Ice dams develop when the snow and ice on the roof start to melt, frequently as a result of the inside heat of the house. When this occurs, the moisture descends the roof but freezes over once more before it has a chance to dry off or run into the gutters. Your roof and eaves develop substantial overhangs as a result.

Additionally, the freezing and melting can lead to shingles and flashing separating, which can lead to cracks where water can enter your house and harm the structure. In other words, by preventing the freezing and refreezing cycle that occurs with ice and snow, heat cable is intended to completely eliminate this risk.

Steps for Installing Heat Cable

Watch this video for some basic guidance on how to put heat tape. Here is a brief overview of what will happen during the procedure.

  • Measure area heat tape is needed

The amount of cable you’ll need must be determined before you begin. To begin, determine how far the roofline extends. Then, calculate the length of the eave, which extends from the wall of the house straight back to the edge of the roof.

Add four to the roof line measurement if the overhang is 12 inches. You must multiply by 5.3 if the measurement exceeds this range, up to 24 inches. Add 6.8 to the roof line measurement if the eave depth is considerably greater, between 24 and 36 inches.

The length of the downspouts must also be measured. Add this length to the total you require. You should also measure the distance between the roof edge where the cable will start and the electrical outlet it will be plugged into. This should help you determine how much cable you’ll need.

  • Keep in mind the entire area heat cable is needed

When it is safe to access the roof, only install your cable on a day that is dry and windless. Start by directing the cable from the intended electrical outlet. At the beginning, you must attach it to a shingle. Carry out this action on a shingle that is higher up on the roof than the exterior wall. This makes it easier to guarantee that the full roof overhang is covered.

  • Make a Loop

Run the cable back down to the gutter after that. Do this at an angle to create an up-and-down pattern. Put it through a loop. The very last shingle will be your final point of attachment for the cable. In most cases, the loop should extend into the gutter at least partially.

  • Run the cable along the roof line

By angling the cable as you run it up and then down to the gutter, you’ll make a zigzag pattern along this area. Shape the world into a triangle. Try to maintain a 15-inch gap between each. Make careful you use a clip to hold the cable in place at each high point.

  • Transmit Through Gutters

This operation must be continued along the roofline. Following that, the heat cable must be inserted into the gutter itself. You can attach it in loops across the gutter or position it along the internal bottom of the gutter.

As soon as you come across a downspout, you should feed the cable through it, making sure the loop extends as far as feasible. You will reach the final downspout after continuing in this manner along the gutters, looping into the downspouts, and moving to the conclusion. If you insert the cable into it, the outlet should be reached.

You just need to connect it in at this point. Ensure that you are only connecting it to a GFCI outlet. As soon as you do, make sure you can feel it warming up. Until it starts to snow, you won’t need to keep it plugged in. Avoid plugging it in until then to save electricity.

What is the typical lifespan of heat tape?

To make sure you complete this process correctly, it is usually a good idea to take your time. Keep the cable as close to the surface as you can while making sure it is attached firmly. You will subject it to extra wear and tear if you do this.

A heat cable will typically last between three and five years when fitted properly. Due to the exposure to the elements, it regrettably does not endure much longer than that. The best results can be achieved by investing in high-quality products and installing them correctly.

Ask for assistance when you need it.

You may find several online tools and videos that will help you put heat tape or heat cable to your roof. However, for some people the best course of action is to contact a Denver roofing company who can install the product on your behalf. When assistance is required, ask for it and keep your roof-related dangers to a minimum.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

Installing heat cable as part of roof winter prep

  • Safety first, do not go up on a roof that looks like it has damage. Call a professional roofing company if any roof damage is noticeable
  • Ice Dams can cause serious damage to you roof, attic, gutters, and siding – prevention is the best course
  • Measure carefully, keeping in mind that the heat tape needs to be snaked back and forth along the roof line
  • Be sure to check if all heat tape is connected before winter comes
  • Call in a professional if you run into obstacles or roof damage

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