Snow Melting Cable

For many homes the accumulation of ice and snow is a major problem which can be easily remedied by the installation of snow melting systems such as gutter heaters or roof heating cables. Systems that use electricity to generate heat, gutter and roof heating cables aid in the prevention of damaging ice dams by allowing the drainage of snow melting off of the roof. At Martella Electric, we regularly perform the installation and inspection of these systems to ensure that your home or business is safe and comfortable all winter long.

What is an Ice Dam?

Ice dam prevention starts with understanding the problem. Ice dams typically develop when snow and ice accumulate on a roof and then melt at different rates. Often the lower portion of a roof may be cooler than the upper portion causing the melting snow traveling down the roof to refreeze near the edge. The resulting ice dam captures water that refreezes and can create damage to not only the roof, but also the entire structure.

Although there are several different approaches to ice dam prevention, Martella Electric usually installs gutter heaters and roof deicing cables to solve this problem. Considered relatively quick and cost effective to install, these roof ice melt systems have resolved ice damming problems and prevented hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. Typically the type of deicing system selected will vary depending on the conditions of each roof, however it’s wise to have a basic understanding of each type of ice melt system:

Roof Deicing Cables – Installed at the edge of the roof, roof deicing cables are intended to eliminate snow before it has the opportunity to accumulate. Also known as roof heating cables, typically there are two types that can be used – integrated systems and self-regulated deicing cable. The integrated systems include the heating cable, a gutter sensor and a control unit, while the self-regulated roof deicing cable is an option that does not require constant monitoring.

Gutter Heaters – Similar to deicing cables, gutter heaters melt snow before accumulating into ice dams, however, they are employed when the problem is within the gutter system as opposed to the roof. There are several different types of gutter heaters that can be used depending on the situation, including:

  • Gutter Heat Tape – A tape that is applied to gutters and along the roof edge, gutter heat tape is affixed to the roof using clips and designed to plug into a main control. Typically, once the control system has been wired, gutter heat tape will be activated automatically be the control system once the temperature falls below 40 degrees.
  • Gutter Heating Cable – Similar to the roof deicing cables used at the edge of a roof, gutter heating cables actually lay inside your gutters and may extend onto the roof. Typically, gutter heaters can be connected to either an automatic or manual power source that offers the freedom to use the system base on the homeowner’s preference.
  • Gutter Heating Caps – Similar to standard gutter guards, gutter heating caps are heated gutter heaters that melt ice and snow before ice dams can form. Since the gutters are already protected, the resulting runoff easily flows away. Depending on the product, gutter heating caps can be attached to temperature sensors for automatic operation or plugged directly into a power source.

Gutter Heaters Prevent Damage & Injury

Since ice dams can cause tremendous damage to a home or business and trying to clear them pose a serious hazard, Martella Electric has found that prevention is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately it can be difficult to see that you have a problem until an ice dam has already developed so taking steps in advance will prevent damage and possible injury. If you have previously experienced the development of ice dams at your home or business, contact Martella Electric. We will fully assess the potential problem and make recommendations that could include the installation of roof deicing cables, gutter heaters or other equipment that would help in avoiding the development of ice dams.

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