Living in Canada I have had many issues with ice dams and snow building on my house. Ice dams and snow build-up increases largely when your home is older, the reason is that it probably has less insulation in the attic. When a home is heating up inside to keep people warm and cozy it is rising up and into the ceiling. This heat tries to escape through the roof and causes the snow to melt from the inside out.
Water then begins to flow down your shingles or metal roofing and will drip off the edge. With below zero temperatures, you will start to see ice build-up quickly. It will create long ice candles down the side of your house and also a thick layer called ice dams over the roof too.
I have a rental property and it is an older home built in the 1940s, so I came to learn about the best roof heating cables rather quickly when winter started. I was out on a 3-story home hitting ice off the side of the house thinking “there must be an easier way”. After some minor research online and asking around, I found de-icing snow melting cables that can be installed on the roof of your home. What I liked is that they were easy to install just by clipping on to your shingles, or screw through metal roofing, but remember to seal it afterward if you make any holes.
Table of Contents
- 5 Best Roof Heating Cables for Ice Dams
- How Much Electricity Does a Roof Heat Cable Use?
- When to Turn on and Off Roof Heating Cables?
- Other Names for Roof Heating Cables?
- What are Some Alternatives for Roof Heating Cables?
- Final Thoughts
5 Best Roof Heating Cables for Ice Dams
When it comes to simplicity, I totally recommend the Frost King Automatic Electric Roof Cable Kit. This kit offers sizes from 200 ft all the way down to 30 ft, so you really get to choose according to your roof length. It is already pre-assembled so if you think it’s hard, think again! The most difficult part is climbing up when it is icy, so I highly recommend having a buddy to hold the ladder or use a ladder stabilizer.
Plugin the Frost King like any ordinary plug at 120v. The price is very reasonable when comparing other snow melting cables. After research, I can say this deal is great because you save hundreds of dollars.
The main reason to install the Frost King is to protect your roof from damage and possible water leaks. See more images of the product on Amazon by following the clickable links or buttons.
|Lengths: 30, 60, 80, 100, 120, 160, 200 ft|
|Ready To Install|
Having a quality pick on the list for the best possible price is the Grip Clip Heat Tape Pro. It is available in 14 DIFFERENT LENGTHS. This product is great for small sheds and for all large homes or company buildings. The quality check of the Grip Clip, in comparison to other top competitors, will win by a long shot.
When questions are asked like, “will it catch leaves on fire?” the answer is no, or “Automatically adjusts to outdoor temps?” the answer is yes. Other de-icing snow melting cables are the opposite, so I am just telling you to be aware of your product.
Commercial grade provides you with the assurance that the product is up to the proper standards. Other snow melting cables do work and they can be cheaper, but the differences are important.
DON’T FORGET if you are considering this product you will have to make sure you also get some Grip Clip Shingle Roof Clips to attach on your roof. They are critical to have unless you are screwing or nailing into your roof, but this way must be water sealed professionally.
|Lengths: 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 50, 62, 75, 87, 100, 112, 125, 137, 150 ft|
|High Quality Commercial Grade|
The Prime Wire & Cable De-Icing Kit provides you with an affordable snow melting cable. Set it up on the edge of your roof just like any other snow melting cables, this kit supplies you with shingle clips and spacers. This product is similar to the Frost King, but it is available in a 240 ft length. Having the extra length might make it or break it for some buyers. I thought I would include this deal just for the right customer!
I like the price for this length because it gives you that long cord at an affordable cost. Most products cost a lot more and they are not even half of the length, so it’s just something for you to keep in mind. Prevent ice dams all around the house with the extended version available for you.
This option includes clips, spacers, and an on and off switch. Having parts included makes things much easier!
|Length: 30, 100, 200, 240 ft|
|Best Bang For Your Buck|
The Xarex XGR Heating Cable is available in 5 lengths the smallest being 50ft and the longest being 100ft.
Xarex is a reputable company that has been serving its customers for 20 years, giving this product a spot on this list of the best snow melting cables for your roof. This product is a great choice for gutters and your roof where water is building up and forming ice dams.
The self-regulating makes these cables super easy to use, when the temperature goes down the cables heat up and when the temperature increases the cables cool down.
|Length: 50, 62, 75, 87, 100 ft|
The 9milelake Heated Roof Melting Cables are a great solution against ice dam build up on your roof during winter months. Plug them in and use the clips on your shingles to set the cables up simply and effectively.
With thermostat technology, this product will heat at different temperatures. When on 6±3 degrees celsius and off 13±3 degrees celsius. This prevents unnecessary overheating.
This pack is easy to install, it comes with clips to hook on to your gutters and shingles. Simply attach the clips and cable to your roof and plug the cable in. Then the snow and ice will melt before building ice dams.
|Length: 20, 30, 60, 80, 100,160, 200 ft|
How Much Electricity Does a Roof Heat Cable Use?
When measuring how much electricity a roof heat cable uses you need to consider the brand product you have. There are 2 types of heat cables, the constant wattage heat cables, and the self-regulating heat cables.
The difference is that the constant wattage is the typical store-bought cable that does not regulate based on temperatures and they constantly remain heated, therefore is constantly using electricity. On average constant heat cables use 5-8 watts per foot, and this remains constant even if the weather is changing.
Without getting into the technical terminology, with the average electricity costs, you can spend anywhere from 5 to 10 dollars per day to operate roof heating cables if left running 24 hours a day.
When to Turn on and Off Roof Heating Cables?
When installing roof heating cables to prevent snow and ice build-up knowing how to properly use them is very important. Turn on your heating cables a few hours before you expect snowfall and colder temperatures. This will ensure your roof does not build-up ice dams causing roof damage.
You should turn off your roof heating cables when your roof is clear of snow and ice or when temperatures are warm enough for snow and ice to melt on its own.
Other Names for Roof Heating Cables?
- roof heating cable
- heat tape
- heat wire
- ice melting cables
- ice dam cables
- roof de-Icing cables
What are Some Alternatives for Roof Heating Cables?
- Using rope to remove large amounts of snow
- Using roof ice melting salt/de-icer
- Upgrade to a metal roof and not worry about ice buildup
- Hire a company for regular snow and ice removal (expensive)
- Create a homemade ice melt formula safe for your roof
After seeing the 5 best roof heating cables that prevent ice dams and snow build-up, we learned a few important tips when using heat cables. Remember that safety is very important when using heat cables on your roof if improperly used you are at risk of a fire. I recommend a professional to help install to keep you and your family as safe as possible.
The best roof heating cables are made to keep your roof safe, the most annoying and costly thing about ice dams is the leaks of water inside your home. These damages add up year after year and finding a solution to the problem is crucial. Using melting cables to prevent such house damages will keep you and your bank account smiling. Set up your roof heating cables today to get a jump start on winter!
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.