The Many Names of Ice Dam Heat Cable
Monday, October 5th, 2015
Over the years we have heard people call heat cable many things.
Heat Coils for ice dam prevention:
Heat coils most likely get their name from the fact that the material itself, that is the heat cable, comes in coils and when installed by a hack is sometimes left in coils on the roof. Heat coils for ice dam prevention are of course the same thing as heat cables.
Roof deicing cables for ice dam prevention:
Roof deicing cables get their name from their primary purpose, to deice roofs. The name is a bit of a misnomer, however, because technically, roof deicing cables do not deice the entire roof, or even the majority of it. Ice dam deicing cables only melt channels through a small percentage of the ice dam to enable the passage of water through the ice dam so water is not able to back up behind the ice dam, into the roof material and into the home. Roof deicing cable is commonly used in the control of ice dams. Notice that there is a big distinction between preventing ice dams and controlling ice dams. Roof deicing wire and roof deicing cable is not meant to prevent ice dams so much as it is meant to control the affects of ice dams on roofs.
Gutter heat cables, Gutter heat tape and Gutter deicing cable:
Gutter heat tape also known as gutter heat wire, is used in the same fashion as heat cable, heat tape and roof deicing cable. It’s primary purpose is to melt ice, or more specifically, to prevent the original formation of ice in the gutter. As discussed in the here general section, gutters in fact have nothing to do with either the creation or severity of ice dams. This isn’t to say that using gutter heat tape or gutter heat wire is a bad idea. Having hundreds of pounds of ice form in your gutter system causes problems of its’ own, most notably that the gutters can be ripped off the house by the weight of the ice itself. Gutter heating coils is yet another variation of this category of names.
Roof Heat Wire and Roof Heat Coils
As with other names, roof heat wire gets its’ name from the perception of its’ intended function. It’s just another way of saying heat cable or heat tape. Roof heat wire is wire on the roof that carries heat with the purpose of controlling ice dams or the damage created by ice formations on a roof.