||Electric Cable Gutter De-Icers
|Installing electric cable gutter deicers
can help prevent damage to your house during
periods of heavy winter snow and freezing
temperatures. When ice collects at the lower
edge of the roof, it can form a dam that
causes melting snow and ice to back up under
the shingles and into the roof space. This
can sometimes result in damage to your shingles,
water leaks, and structural damage to your
house. Electric gutter deicers keep the ice
from forming, so there is always a clear
path for water to drain along the gutters
and into the downspouts. These electric cables
are designed to adapt to most roof and gutter
configurations and are easy and inexpensive
for the average homeowner to install.
If you are thinking of buying
deicers for your home, consider
- To determine the amount of cable you will
need, multiply the length of your roof's
edge by two to three (unless you want to
skip warming the lower portion of the roof
and heat only the gutter). Also add 1 foot
to cover the cable needed to go in and down
the eave trough and downspouts. One cable
may cover both the roof and gutter areas,
or separate cables can be used for each.
- Check the maximum length of the cable in
the system you are considering to make sure
it is sufficient for your roof. Also, precut
cables are not designed to be recut, so measure
your runs accurately.
- The cable kits usually include plastic or
aluminum clips that are used to fasten the
cables to the gutter and roof. The cable
will need to be plugged into an electric
outlet (usually 120v for residential use).
- Heat output can be fixed, thermostat controlled,
or by self-regulating cable, which is preferred
since self-regulating cable itself acts as
a thermostat to adjust the heat output all
along its length based on its temperature.
This means that the same cable will simultaneously
deliver more heat to the portion that is
in the shade than that in the sun. An added
benefit is that you don't have to worry about
overheating if two cables overlap.
- Consider how you will handle "cold leads,"
which is the run from the power supply to
the heat producing portion of the cable,
to avoid wasting electricity warming up the
path to the gutter.
- Look for a system that gives a positive indicator
that it is on, such as a power light, as
it is otherwise difficult to test for warmth
because of the placement of the cable.
Although electric cable deicers work far
better than chemical deicers, they will not
work if you lose power in a storm. If you
choose a chemical deicer, do so cautiously
because they can be very caustic, discolor
shingles, and damage flashings and downspouts.
These chemicals can also adversely affect
any plants in the ground underneath the gutters
and beside the downspouts.