The Pros and Cons of Deicing Cables

cabin roof photo

The roof is one of the more perilous parts of your home. If you live in a colder climate with a lot of snow, chances are you spend a lot of time making sure the snow melts off correctly. If you don’t, an ice dam could form on your roof. That ice dam would then hold water on top of your roof, leading to damage. Fortunately, there is a solution that doesn’t involve you climbing a ladder after every storm. You have the option to install deicing cables.

Pro: Melting Space

Deicing cables create channels in the snow on your roof while they’re running. These channels allow melting water to run off the roof or into your gutter system. In many cases, this stops ice dams from forming on your roof. Overall, adding these cables protects your roof.

Con: Partial Solution

Deicing cables do not actually remove all the snow from your roof. You still need to find a solution for removal before the weight does damage to your roof. Additionally, deicing cables only melt what’s around them. There is still a possibility that an ice dam will form on your roof, and you will end up with damage anyway.

Pro: Roof Savings

The potential water damage from ice dams varies based on the size of the dam. However, larger damns can result in total roof replacement. That has the potential to set you back thousands. Smaller areas of damage, say less than ten feet, will still set you back hundreds to repair. The cost of installing deicing cables doesn’t compare to how much replacing a roof costs.

Con: Electrical Bill

Deicing cables traditionally run on electricity. Unfortunately, electricity is among the most inefficient ways to generate heat. Consequently, your electrical bill each winter will rise. The cables also only function within a specific temperature range, since snow only melts above a certain temperature in quantity. Additionally, many deicing cable systems have an intelligent setting that helps regulate how much energy is used. However, there are downsides to that as well.

Pro: DIY Installation

Deicing cables do have DIY installation options. There are simpler systems if you just want to try it out for a season before committing to a significant product purchase. Products like ice tape are self-adhering, so it’s easy for you to get up on the ladder and go.

The more complicated systems can be done with the DIY approach. However, you need to be confident in your skills and understanding of the directions before trying.

Con: Good Systems Need Professionals

The most efficient deicing cable systems may require you hire out to a specialized contractor. The contractor should have experience in installing the deicing cables to ensure your system is set up flawlessly. Remember, whenever you outsource work, ask for references on completed projects like yours. This allows you to gauge how much the contractor knows before you decide.

Regardless of if you DIY or have a professional install it, remember to maintain your system. Deicing cables don’t do any good if they’re not secured and running.

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