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Thankfully we don’t have to deal with this kind of thing down here in Texas, but for those of you who live in two-season (frozen and not frozen) climates, here’s a product to help save your gutters: a cable-type de-icing kit. Here’s the lowdown: You string this cable around the edge of your roof, then plug it in. Resistance heating clears a path for melting snow, shunting it through your gutter instead of allowing it to run off just anywhere — and possibly damage your roof.

It’s important to note that this product doesn’t clear all the ice and snow off your roof. It just prevents ice-dams from forming. A few other caveats from the manufacturer:

“Never install on a flat roof. Never install on combustible materials. Not suitable for use on metal roofs. Contact Easy Heat for appropriate cable solutions.”

The middle-of-the-road 600 W, 120′ long kit (pictured) will set you back about $60, and Easy Heat offers models starting at just 100 W and 20′ spanning all the way up to 1200 W and 240′. (A handy PDF form on their site helps you determine what size you need.) Each kit includes the cable, shingle clips, cable spacers, installation instructions, and a label for your electrical panel. (You weren’t going to crawl on the roof to turn it on, right?)

Cable De-Icing Systems [Easy Heat]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

9 Responses to A De-Icing Kit For Your Roof

  1. Matt says:

    Anyone have any good thought on how to make this sort of thing out of coaxial cable? I have a big spool of the stuff that I’m never going to use. This would be a perfect application!

  2. Mike47 says:

    Matt:

    I’m no electronics expert, but here are some thoughts. The heater wire I’ve seen is single-conductor with special wire that is designed to get hot but not burn through like a fuse. It has a known resistance per linear foot, and has to be engineered with the right voltage and current for its length. Coax is two-conductor, and designed to minimize resistance so that signal strength going through it is maximized. If you tried to use the center wire as a heater, it is well insulated and would probably burn out before it accomplished much heating. The woven shielding wire conductor probably has even less resistance to current flow than the center wire, so using it to heat something would probably make the setup dangerous and unsafe. Best to find someone with a big house that is planning to get cable TV, and work a deal.

  3. Chris says:

    If your ceiling below the attic is properly insulated, this sort of thing shouldn’t be a problem in the first place. Among several very good sites explaining what causes ice dams:

    http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK1068.html

    The ice dam is a symptom, not the root problem. You should treat the problem, not its symptoms, if you want a permanent solution.

    cl

  4. Mrten says:

    It’s funny to realize that there are people who think that throwing a permanent (24/7, don’t see a timer) drain of up to a kilowatt of electricity to a problem is a ‘solution’.

    Agree with Chris, fix the underlying problem, will be a lot cheaper in the long run, even if you don’t care about the environment.

  5. Bob says:

    Matt,

    I think what you’re headed for is called a “house fire”. Not recommended!! 🙁

    Things that look the same are often very different.

  6. shotdog says:

    our two seasons in new york state are frozen and construction. these units draw a lot of juice. it’s much cheaper in the long run to find and fix the cause of the ice dams. proper attic insulation and air circulation will usually fix it.

  7. KMR says:

    shotdog, that seems to be pretty common phrase here in CNY (frozen/construction seaons). The lake effect is coming down at a pretty good clip right now!

    Agreed with everyone, fix the root cause… don’t treat just the symptom.

  8. James says:

    I don’t see why you’d run it 24/7…. just plug it in when you see a dam forming, then unplug it. I see one of these in my future. Damned vaulted ceilings mean I can’t check the insulation without tearing apart the roof or the ceiling.

  9. John Martens says:

    Tim “The Toolman” Taylor demonstrated this on an episode of Home Improvement. Apparently, if you use detcord it will give your eves a nice sawtooth pattern.

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