How Does Heat Tape Work?

Posted on February 7, 2019 · Posted in Roofing Education

Ice dams are a high-risk situation for rooftops.

When water gets into cracks and crevices in the roof or in gutters, and then freezes, it can cause ice to form in those areas. As the ice forms, it expands the cracks, creating the risk for serious structural damage. Heat tape may be an excellent solution to this. This type of product, sometimes referred to as gutter heat tape or a roof heat cable, can warm these surfaces just enough to prevent ice from forming.

What Is Heat Tape?

Heat tape is a type of electric heater cord that’s protected from the elements. When put in place, such as in pipes and gutters, it works to generate just enough heat to keep water from freezing. The roof heat cable is placed in key areas of concern. And, as the weather gets colder, once the tape is plugged in, it works to stop any precipitation from forming into ice or icicles. As a result, water continues to flow and there’s no ice obstruction on your eaves, valleys or gutters.

What Are the Pros and Cons for Using Heat Tape?

Before you invest in heat tape, it is important to understand both the pros and the cons. To start with, your gutters and other areas need to be in good condition before the gutter tape is applied. This means leaks need to be repaired first. Then, it’s important to place them properly inside the gutter or along the roofline where the risk is. It only works in a small area where the tape is placed – which means you do need to add a substantial amount to critical areas. The biggest drawback, aside from energy use, is that they must be installed properly to avoid any electrical hazard, so it is not a DIY task. Horch Roofing can install heat tape and they do recommend it for certain applications.

The benefits of using roof heat tape are numerous. For example, when used along gutters, it helps to stop icicles from forming. This can protect the lifespan of the gutters. As noted, the biggest benefit is minimizing the risk of ice dams. This alone can save you a significant amount of money if you live in an area where temperatures vary significantly. It also extends the life of your roof as a result.

Need Help Deciding?

If you are worried about your roof this winter and aren’t sure what the best option is, contact your trusted, local roofing contractors at Horch Roofing. Horch Roofing is Midcoast Maine’s largest and most experienced roofing contractor. We provide metal roofing, asphalt shingle roofing, EPDM rubber roofing, and seamless gutters for both residential and commercial roofing projects. We also offer free roof estimates or job estimates. Horch Roofing has been roofing homes on the coast of Maine, from Brunswick to Belfast, since 2003.  We serve the communities of Midcoast Maine from our office in Warren. You can call us at (207) 273-1111, visit us at 2414 Camden Road, or contact us online.