Tips on Installing a Heat Cable on a Shingle Roof

Nowadays it has become possible to combat accumulation of ice on the roof of your house. It can be done with roof heating cables. One of the woes that a long and frosty winter can bring is the damage made by ice and snow on the roof of your house. Unfortunately, even a steep-pitched roof that is specially designed for the areas with extreme climate conditions cannot cope with the damming or buildup of ice that results usually from fast and repeated process of freeze-thaw. Thus, when temperature fluctuates greatly, there is high risk of forming such ice dams. This ice accumulation at the roof edges can even tear off gutters, weaken them or even crush porch roofs. Very often people suffer from interior leaks as well.

Fortunately, combating ice dams has become possible nowadays. Simply purchase high-rate roof heating cables. But buying appropriate cables is not enough, you need to know how to install them correctly. In reality, this do-it-yourself project is not as difficult as it may seem but still you're advised to consider the following recommendations.

Instructions on installing roof heating cables

1 Climb up to your house's roof and measure the zones which need to be covered with a roof heat cable. Start from the window or a roof deck door, the maximum measurement should be six feet for connector cable for it to be able to plug into an electrical outlet. Then the cable should be run across the ridgepole down the outer edge of one side of your house's roof to the lower edge.

2 Along the lower edge of your home's roof, create a row of zigzags eighteen inches high and eighteen inches wide. If you can't divide your roof by 18 easily, bring the lower points of the zigzags close to each other. Keep the intervals even between them. After the calculations are completed on one side of the roof, the figures should be doubled except for the connector's cable. In this way, you'll have enough space for cables on both sides of your roof.

3 Check up the taken measurements with the help of a manufacturer's chart. Provide the height for dormers, taking the measurements of the wall height and the roof. Double the cable length for any downspouts which are located in the middle of the place where the cable runs. The cable will run down and up across the roof. All the calculations should be checked twice by following a manufacturer's diagram or your own drawing.

4 Before starting the installation process of your cable the outside temperature should be checked. It should be minimum fifty degrees Fahrenheit. The shingles can brittle at lower temperatures.

5 Now the cable has to be threaded over the roof according to the diagram. Start at the end you want to plug into the electricity outlet, attach the cable to shingles using enclosed clamps and turning the zigzag along the roof or corners around dormers. Clamps are expected to either clip onto the shingles bottom edges or pinch through them. A number of cable brands include spacers as well. These pieces can help to hold the cable rather straight with no need to clamp it down. Further the heat cable has to be clamped securely without damaging the cable that covers or bends the cable at the angles.

6 Place the temperature/water sensor as it is written in the manufacturer's directions. It has to be mentioned that sensing equipment can vary among different brands, so try to follow the directions given.

7 Have the roof heating cable plugged in and consider its performance during a storm. You can adjust the necessary items in it before the first snow.

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