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Roof Deicing Cable Reviews – Pros & Cons

Ice dams….

You know the drill – water damage, costly repairs, endless worry. But what if there was a simple solution?

Roof deicing cables might just be the answer you’re looking for.

They’re easy to install, cost-effective, and could save you a fortune in repairs. Let’s look at the pros and cons of these nifty devices that might just be your roof’s new best friend.

Key Notes

  • Prevent ice dams without manual snow removal, protecting your roof from water damage.
  • Often DIY-friendly, saving on installation costs and offering quick protection.
  • Self-regulating options are available for energy efficiency and lower utility bills.
  • Effective on various roof types, including gutters and downspouts for comprehensive coverage.

Advantages of Roof Deicing Cables

Prevent Ice Dams

Roof deicing cables are a quick and convenient solution to prevent ice dams without manually removing snow.  

This means you don’t have to worry about water seeping under your shingles or about ice dams causing costly structural damage to your roof.

Easy to Install

Many deicing cables are DIY-friendly, so you can install them without professional help. 

Follow these steps to determine how much cable you need:

  • Measure horizontal roof sections that need to be covered, and consider the size of your overhangs. 
  • Add cable for the downspout. 
  • Add extra cable for valleys and dormers.

Although generally straightforward, you can hire a professional if you’re uncomfortable with heights or have minimal electrical knowledge.

Cost-Effective

Deicing cables, starting at around $235 for 6 feet, are more affordable than repairing or replacing roofs, pipes, and gutters damaged by ice dams.

While initial installation costs could seem high, bear in mind that heating cables need minimal maintenance and can last for years, making them a cost-effective option in the long run.

Using heating cables can also reduce your electricity bill by ensuring proper water drainage from the roof, so there’s less chance of heat loss.

Energy Efficient

Many roof deicing cables are self-regulating, so they adjust their heat output based on the surrounding temperature. As it gets warmer, they use less power for energy efficiency and to save on utility bills. 

In addition, self-regulating cables also minimize the risk of your roof overheating and causing a safety hazard.

Don't Let Ice Dams Damage Your Home This Winter

Check out our winter-ready cable options for your home

Versatile

Whether your roof is made from asphalt, shingles, metal, or slate, you’ll find roof deicing cables suitable for your roof type. 

You can also install deicing cables in gutters and downspouts, which helps to route melted ice and snow away from your house.

Improved Installation Methods

Advances in roof deicing cable installation have made the process faster and more efficient. Ice tape, for example, helps homeowners quickly and easily install their systems themselves. 

Modern cables also come with clips and connectors for snappy attachment without compromising their durability. 

Additionally, self-regulating cables don’t need manual adjustments, making the operation a cinch.

With proper installation and maintenance, roof deicing cables can last up to 7 years.

Disadvantages of Roof Deicing Cable

Limited Coverage

One downfall of roof deicing cables is that they only cover specific areas of your roof. 

Depending on your roof’s profile and layout, there may still be a risk of ice dams forming, especially in valleys and dormers.

Electricity Use

As roof deicing cables rely on electricity to generate heat, they increase your power consumption, especially during extended periods of cold weather. 

While self-regulating cables address this issue to a degree, they still draw electricity during operation.  On the other hand, non-self-regulating cables typically run at constant power, which pushes your electrical bills up.

Aesthetic Impact

Some modern deicing cables are designed to blend into your roof shingles and come in different colors to preserve your home’s exterior appearance. However, cables, clips and connectors could still be visible from the ground.  

If your roof has a complex layout or your cables are not properly installed, then a roof deicing system could detract from your home’s overall aesthetic appeal.

Maintenance

Roof deicing cables need annual inspections to ensure their good operation and minimize the chance of a fire hazard. 

Look for signs of wear and tear and regularly check your cables are properly secured to your roof. Most manufacturers recommend replacing your deicing cables every 5 to 7 years.

Limited Temperature Range

Deicing cables are most effective in melting snow and ice in areas with milder winter weather.  

In extreme cold, the cables may not function as efficiently, leaving some roof areas vulnerable to ice dam formation. However, it could be argued that in extremely cold conditions, there’s not much risk of ice melting.

What Uses the Most Electricity in Your Home?

Pros
Cons

Constant Wattage vs. Self-Regulating

The Budget-Friendly Option

If you have a limited budget and only occasionally worry about ice dams, constant-wattage heat tape is the solution. It’s an affordable, short-term solution suitable for temporary or less critical applications.

Some products are sold in various lengths and come with connectors, so you get everything you need for quick and easy DIY installation.

The Convenient and Efficient Option

Pros
Cons

Alternatives to Roof Deicing Cables

Alternatives to Roof Deicing Cables

If you’ve gone through our list of pros and cons and decided roof heating cables are not for you, here are some alternatives you may be interested in:

Attic Insulation and Ventilation

Improving your attic’s insulation and ventilation can be a cost-effective long-term solution to ice dam build-ups. 

While not as direct as deicing cables, proper insulation helps control the temperature in your attic. This reduces heat loss, so snow’s less likely to melt and refreeze on your roof.

Roof Shovels

Roof shovels are a manual alternative to roof deicing systems, although using them takes physical effort and time and can be risky. 

Shoveling snow works best on smaller roofs and those with simpler layouts, as it allows for more precise control over snow and ice removal.  

You can also use roof shovels together with other deicing methods, such as installing roof rakes or using ice melt products.

Professional Ice Dam Removal Services

This option is quick and effective. Typically, a team of experienced technicians comes to your home to manually remove accumulated snow and ice from your roof, gutters, and downspouts. 

This service is particularly useful for homeowners who only have occasional ice dam issues or those with complex roof designs.  

On the downside, it is an expensive option in the long term.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do roof deicing cables last?

On average, roof deicing cables last between 5 and 7 years, depending on which type you choose and how regularly you maintain them.

Do roof heating cables use a lot of electricity?

Roof heating cables typically use 5 to 8 watts of electricity per linear foot per hour. Keep in mind that this is a ballpark figure, as self-regulating cables may use less power, while a constant-wattage deicing system could increase electricity consumption.

Conclusion

Roof deicing cables offer an effective solution for preventing ice dams and protecting your home from water damage. While they have some limitations, their ease of installation, cost-effectiveness, and energy efficiency make them an attractive option for many homeowners. 

Self-regulating cables in particular provide convenient, automatic temperature control. However, weighing the pros and cons against alternatives like improved attic insulation or professional ice dam removal services is important.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific needs, climate, and budget. Ready to safeguard your roof this winter? Check out our high-quality roof deicing cables and find the perfect solution for your home today.