Anyone have experience with gutter heat tape?


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Old 08-02-08, 07:51 AM
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Anyone have experience with gutter heat tape?

Having large amounts of snow and ice on my roof (asphalt shingle, 7/12 pitch), last year I have decided that I need to install heat tape in the rain gutters. Heat tape companies state that you should run the tape in the gutters AND in a zig-zag pattern along the eaves but that adds up to a LOT of tape and a much higher electric bill. I have 330 feet of gutters. I have spoken to several electricians and rain gutter folks and they say that all I need is to run the tape in the gutter as that is what needs to be kept free of ice. The house is new and has plenty of blown in insulation and plenty of attic ventilation.

Has anyone used this tape and if so, what has been your experience with it. Should I run the zig-zag pattern?

Thanks
 
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Old 08-02-08, 10:10 AM
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For starters, an really effective heat-tape installation often needs to extend down the downspouts and leaders, otherwise the liquid water in gutters overflows, and often ends up soaking the eaves and/or backs up under the shingles:



For example see the products and installation instructions here and see here for a description of commercial grade cable and controls.
 
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Old 08-27-08, 06:34 PM
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I have used the heat tape with good results. I did zigzag but that was due to a repeat ice buildup. I would suggest making sure to run at least within 6" from the bottom of the downspouts.
 
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Old 09-01-08, 05:37 PM
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Ice dams on roof & gutters caused by exhaust fan roof caps

It looks as if we have the same issue.

My Roof Cap for my Kitchen exhaust fan & bathroom fans are causing ice dams on my roof & gutters. I live in a area with a huge winter snowfall so it is very difficult to keep the roof vents clear. Should I put a different vent on & raise it up or go with roof de-icing cables.

Canadian tire does carry the De-Icing cables in different lengths & I might add at the best price.

Jim
 
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Old 09-10-08, 01:05 PM
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The only thing that causes an ice dam is lack of ventilation and lack of insulation. Your attic should be COLD. Therefore, the only cure is to add insulation and add ventilation. There should be a 2" continious ventilation strip under the eave and a continious ridge vent, to go along with any gable-end vent. You'll find de-icing cable to be a draw on your electric bill.
 
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Old 10-19-08, 08:06 AM
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Ice Dams

Originally Posted by steve22l
The only thing that causes an ice dam is lack of ventilation and lack of insulation. Your attic should be COLD. Therefore, the only cure is to add insulation and add ventilation. There should be a 2" continious ventilation strip under the eave and a continious ridge vent, to go along with any gable-end vent. You'll find de-icing cable to be a draw on your electric bill.
I have a L shaped roof that faces north and west. I'm located about an hour north of Toronto and in normal winter conditions everything is fine, no ice. However as soon as the sun comes out, water starts to drip and icycles start to form along with ice dams. The attic is properly insulated and I do not have any problems with melting on the south or east side.

The house is almost forty years old and about ten years ago I replaced the old plywood sofits with modern (perforated) vinyl ones and added a couple of turbine vents. I also added rafter vents to allow air to circulate.

I believe the main problem is the snow that builds in the valley on the north and west side can add up to a couple of feet. Keeping the attic cold only prevents heat that may escape from the interior from melting snow on the roof. The sun itself can also cause snow to melt.

Since it's a one story house I have a roof shovel that allows me to pull the snow off the roof. But I can't be here for every snowfall.

Is my only option to install heat cables or are there other alternatives?

Thanks
Brian
 
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Old 11-06-08, 06:28 PM
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cost of running heat tape

For what it's worth, an electrician told me today that for my house, running about 100 feet of heat tape would cost 18 cents an hour and that when you run it, you should run it for at least 6 hours at a time. I was also told that whenever there is melting going on (from say the sun exposure) you should run the heat tape to prevent ice buildup.
 
 

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