Posts Tagged ‘ice dam heat cable’

Common Ice Dam Locations on a Home

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Where Do Ice Dams Normally Happen on Homes? A List of the Most Common Ice Dam Locations

Case Study 3

Where ice dams happen…and don’t happen:

  1. Ice dams seldom occur over unheated areas such as garages and porches (A).
  2. The valley areas of dormers frequently get ice dams (B).
  3. Ice dams often occur both below and above skylights. Ice dams above skylights are hard to see from the ground, making them some of the sneakiest to discover (C).
  4. Any openings through the roof – such as pipes and vents – are a good place for small ice dams for form (D).
  5. Valleys are very common areas for ice dam formation. It is important to never use hammers or chisels near valleys as the difference between a thorough ice removal job and valley damage is fractions of an inch (E).
  6. On roofs with a low pitch (angle) even a 1-2″ ice dam can cause significant leaking and interior damage (F).
  7. The eaves edge is the most common place to see ice dams. 80% of the dams we remove are found here (G).
  8. Interior rooms with vaulted ceilings are frequently associated with large ice dams. Bathrooms are often the worst. If you had recessed lighting to a vaulted ceiling, you are much more likely to have ice dams (H).
  9. Ice dams occasionally form around chimneys and furnace flues. Any place heat escapes through the roof line. Ice dams in these locations can be very, very small and still cause leaking (I).


To read more Case Studies click here.

The Many Names of Ice Dam Heat Cable

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Roof deicing cable for ice dam prevention by the Ice Dam Company

Roof deicing cable for ice dam prevention by the Ice Dam Company

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.

Gutter ice melting cable for ice dam prevention by The Ice Dam Company

Gutter ice melting cable for ice dam prevention by The Ice Dam Company

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.


Ice Dam Heat Cable Clips for Slate Roofs

Friday, September 18th, 2015


We sell a huge amount of heat cable clips for ice dam heat cables and roof deicing cables. Most of the roof deicing heat cable clips we sell relate to new ice dam prevention heat cables. Many of the clips we sell, however, relate to people needing replacement ice then heat cable clips.  For example, in the case of a reroofing project, the roofer often removes the existing ice dam deicing cable system and neglects to keep the clips.  A bit of a bummer, but they are easy enough to replace.

One of the less common roof deicing cable clip is made for slate roof applications. Slate roof ice dam cable clips are quite different than standard heat cable installation clips. Here is a photo of the two side-by-side: Slate Roof Ice Dam Heat Cables

Slate roof heat cable clips, also known as slate roof ice dam cable brackets, are far more expensive than standard ice dam heat cable clips. Check for current pricing in our store. Right now our prices for ice dam heat cable clips are as follows: $40 for a box of 25 standard heat cable clips. Slate roof deicing cable clips cost $20 per piece.
Installing heat cables on a slate roof requires special expertise and special accessories. Standard roof deicing projects are often far more affordable based on the clip cost alone.

Ice Dam Heat Cable Clips for Slate Roofs

Ice Dam Heat Cable Clips for Slate in use on a slate roof

Heat Tape for Ice Dams

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Heat tape for ice dams, Electric gutter heating cables for sale

Heat tape for ice dams, Electric gutter heating cables for sale

We get asked a lot about the difference between electric heat tape and electric heat cable. The answer is that there is no difference. Both descriptions apply to apply to a category of ice dam prevention cable that is run, usually in a zig-zag pattern, along the affected eaves of a home/building (See install info here). The height, or distance that pattern runs up the roof is determined by the depth of the over hang on the home. The deeper the overhang, the higher the pattern needs to travel.

Not all heat tape is created equal. Think about the difference between a Pinto and an Audi. Sure, they are both cars, but they are pretty different in terms of quality. Honesty alert: Some heat tape is absolute crap. It’s the stuff sold at big box stores under the names Easy Heat and Frost King, to name a few. It costs about 1/3 that of the heavy duty material we install every day. Guess what the difference in labor cost is to install crappy heat cable versus quality heat cable? Zero. It costs zero dollars more to install long-lasting, efficient ice dam heat tape than it does the cheap stuff. We replace thousands of feet of lousy ice dam heat tape every year in the Twin Cities market. Time and time again we see the cheap cables have failed because they have either burned out or have deteriorated due to normal UV exposure.

The moral of the story is please, don’t buy cheap ice dam prevention cable. It won’t last long and it costs far more to operate than quality cable.


Ice Dam Removal, Ice Dam Prevention

Removing Ice Dams in Minnesota: We Serve Many Areas in the Minneapolis Metro

The Ice Dam company based out of Hopkins, Minnesota, about 5 miles west of Minneapolis. We've done gutter ice removal, roof ice removal and ice dam removal all over the Twin Cities, on new houses and old ones.

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