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Unread 10-24-2021, 11:17 AM   #1
Bodie Powers
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Roof de-icing cables

I'm looking to install de-icing cables along my eaves, valley, & gutters. Looks like self-regulating are the way to go but beyond that I have no idea about brand quality. Anyone here have experience with these systems that can offer suggestions?

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Unread 10-25-2021, 01:55 PM   #2
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Can't help ya, Bodie. Not much ice in this part of Texas.
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Unread 10-26-2021, 10:16 PM   #3
jadnashua
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The first step would be a blower door test, find all leaks into your attic, plug them, then add more insulation. Assuming you do have an attic, consider a radiant barrier attached underneath the roof rafters, then see what happens.

I did essentially that in my place. I live in a row of townhouses, and my roof will have snow left on it for at least a week after all of the others are clear...what doesn't melt, can't refreeze. Sublimation gets a bunch of it. If none of that works, then, cables can resolve the problem, but at a constant cost. Ideally, they'd work both by a thermostat and moisture, as they won't do much if it's cold, but there's no snow on the roof! A manual switch works IF you're home and remember to turn it on.

When it comes time to reroof, you might consider something like one of the metal, shake look tiles if it meets your styling and budget needs. Those have about a 1/2-3/4" air gap underneath, and act like a radiant barrier on their own, keeping the roof deck cold, so things can't melt easily to refreeze. You do want to install snow hooks in the roof, otherwise, you can get a huge section fall off with any vibration (say, closing a door)...not nice to be deluged with a slab of snow falling off of the roof!
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Unread 11-03-2021, 12:45 PM   #4
Bodie Powers
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Good points on the insulation and there's probably room for improving our situation there. It's been suggested we increase attic ventilation to limit heat buildup, which makes sense but I'm guessing there are countervailing opinions on this.

The bigger issue where I live is the freeze/thaw/freeze cycle. Winter afternoon temps avg mid to high 30's with a lot of sunny days creating melt that by early evening is beginning to re-freeze. Ice dams build and persist for months. We've got Ice & Water shield under the comp shingle roof and haven't seen any evidence of damage. The biggest issue is the accumulation of ice on the eaves/valleys that spill into and over the gutters. The aforementioned afternoon melt drips onto our driveway/entryway walk creating a significant slip hazard much of the winter. Cables would be the fix. Manufacturers recommend zig-zagging the cables along the eaves, a loop up/down the valleys, returning along the gutters and down the spout. That's the plan. I was looking for inputs on brand quality. I'm leaning toward Grip Clip Heat Tape Pro based on various reviews. It has the self regulating feature that activates the cable at a certain temp threshold. I'll manually deactivate the system during periods where ice isn't present.

I would never consider a metal roof unless the driveway and entries were beneath gables. Here's a few pics of our son's place down the road after a major storm showing tons of heavy wet snow from a single slide down the hip onto his driveway and entries. Anyone standing in the path would likely not have survived.
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Unread 11-14-2021, 10:34 PM   #5
jadnashua
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Most suppliers of metal roofs will have engineered snow guards that get installed on the roof to help prevent the whole thing sliding off at once like that. I've not tried to install any, so don't know if they must go on during the initial installation, or could be added later. Might be something to look into.
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Unread 11-15-2021, 07:29 PM   #6
Tool Guy - Kg
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Wow, that is a ton of snow in the pics! From the way your wrote, your son has a metal roof. But the impressions on some of those snow chunks don't seem to correlate. Can you clarify what type of roof covering your son has?
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