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To prevent ice dams, heat cables should be installed

May 20

To prevent ice dams, heat cables should be installed

Heat cable has a negative reputation when it comes to ice dam prevention. Few people know what heat cable is or how to properly install it. In this series of three, I'll dive deep into heat cables to explain their purpose, where it works and why it doesn't, the best ways to purchase them, and how to make heat cable systems by roofing contractors in New Orleans.


A dam of snow


Minnesotans have terrible memories of the snowflakes from early October that brought back awful memories of early 2019. Immature ice dams can be seen adorning large and small homes. An ice dam, which is the name of the ice-like ridge of ice, forms on roofs. It usually forms around the eave and forces meltwater into the roof system. You can think of them as mini-glaciers that can wreak havoc on your house if you don't pay attention. Minnesota greetings!


While insurance companies usually cover the cost of repairing damage to ice-dammed areas, they don't cover the cost of preventing future damage. Many homeowners wonder how they can avoid this inconvenience and costly problem. Insurance companies may demand homeowners pay for expensive modifications in order to prevent future ice dams. If the modifications are not completed, future claims related to ice dams may be rejected.




Industry experts agree that improving your home's architecture is the best way to prevent ice dams. That includes insulation, ventilation, sealing all air leaks, sealing heat escaping from places it shouldn't, and melting snow that shouldn’t. Remember that melting snow feeds the cycle of ice dams by re-freezing along the eaves. These home improvements cost on average between $10,000 and $30,000. We have completed hundreds of them over the past quarter-century. The video below shows you the scope of this project.


These are not typical air-sealing or insulation projects. This is a difficult and messy job that can involve the demolition and reconstruction of your home's exterior or interior, or both. If done correctly, it is a significant house improvement that can reduce the risk of ice dams and increase energy efficiency. If it is done wrongly, it could be a waste of money that can worsen ice-dam concerns. Bummer.




Roof shoveling, if done correctly, can help to prevent ice dams. First, the roof must be cleared of all snow on the entire roof. The removal of snow from the roof’s lowermost feet can lead to a worse condition called a double dam. This is where a secondary ice dam is formed.


Dam on two levels


Double dams, which can cause extensive damage if left unchecked, are hard to remove. Because the roof planes impacted by snow may be more than two stories high or are otherwise difficult to access, it is impossible to remove all of the snow.


Snow removal can also be done at home.


This means someone has to climb up there, which is usually not a good choice for a novice. Many homeowners will choose to hire professionals for this job, which is often very expensive.




  • Tape to keep yourself warm


All ice prevention heat tape has the same principle, no matter if it is called heat cable or roof deicing wire. These cables melt snow and ice by using heat resistance. These channels allow water off the roof to escape and not back up into your house. Heat cable has no purpose other than to create relief channels in snow and ice. It does not maintain snow-free eaves.


  • It has been installed heat cables.


High-quality cables and someone who knows their stuff can place heat cables to provide reliable ice dam prevention for over a decade. However, heat cables are not always the best solution to ice dam prevention. These houses were frequent targets of our inspections. Some industry skeptics maintain that heat wires are not necessary.


New Orleans Roofing Expert

1948 Industrial Blvd., Harvey, LA 70058

(504) 285 7180