FAQs

What self-regulating heat trace cable do you recommend?

I won’t be recommending any heat cables (also known as heat trace cables), mainly for liability reasons. There are so many out there to choose from you won’t have any issues finding one. Though, the heat trace cable I used in the video is the Raychem brand. Almost all of the hardware stores in freezing regions will carry self-regulating heat cables so just go down to one of your stores and check them out.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure the heat trace cable doesn’t prohibit you using their cable next to a gutter guard. As an example, the EasyHeat brand heat trace cable has one model that I know of that instructs you not to use it within .5″ from a gutter guard, that’s the “Roof & Gutter De-Icing Kit Model ADKS” HeatTrace cable.

 

How much does the electricity cost to use a heat trace cable?

Since heat trace cables are rated by wattage by the foot, you just add up the length of heat trace cable and multiply by the watts per foot the cable is rated at and this will give your total watt usage. Not all electrical rates are the same, so as an example, if you pay an average of 25 cents per kilowatt hour on Tier 3, and you have 100 watts in your heat trace cable length, then you would pay:  (100 / 1,000 watts) x 25 cents = 2.5 cents an hour.

Do you offer technical support for the heat cable or other electrical components associated with the system?

No. I recommend that you consult your local licensed electrical contractor. We only supply a cover that holds the cable down on our gutter guard. We are not electrical contractors so we can’t advise.

Can I use a heat trace cable in conjunction with your gutter guard?

That is a question for the heat trace cable brand you are using. Read their instructions carefully. Some heat trace cables may say not to use their cable within a half inch from a gutter guard. Most don’t say anything about it.

As an example, the EasyHeat brand heat trace cable has one model that I know of that instructs you not to use that model within .5″ from a gutter guard, that’s the “Roof & Gutter De-Icing Kit Model ADKS” HeatTrace cable.

What wattage rated heat trace cable should I use?

That’s a question for your electrical contractor. But I can say this, cables are typically rated at 6 watts, 8 watts, 10 watts or 12 watts per foot. The higher the wattage, the more heat you will get. If I lived in the high country where temperatures dropped to 15 degrees or below on a consistent basis, I would consider using a 12 watt cable on top of the gutter guard and also use another cable in the bottom of the gutter.

Will the cover dam debris and make more debris stay on top of the gutter guard?

Yes, but it’s easy to clean off (Much easier than cleaning out your gutter!). Make sure to watch the end of the IceMelt Cover video where I show how to use the brush and extension pole cleaning method, it’s easy.

Will your IceMelt Cover eliminate all icicles and ice dams on the gutter?

Yes and no. It really depends a lot on you and your climate. The better you manage the entire system the better results you will have. In general, follow these guidelines for best results:

  1. Make sure you use a heat trace cable with sufficient wattage for melting all ice in your situation.
  2. Turn on your heat trace cable several hours before a snow storm
  3. Keep the heat trace cable turned on during the storm
  4. Keep the heat trace cable turned on after the storm until all the snow on your roof is melted.

You may wonder why I’m suggesting to keep the cable turned on until all the snow is melted on your roof. That’s because when it’s not snowing out, it’s during the day and the sun is out, and most of the snow is melted on your roof, you will still get snow melt that will drip down your roof on top of the gutter guard. Then it will freeze on top of the gutter guard at night. That frozen layer on top will block the holes in the mesh and then the snow melt will just run over the gutter and unto the ground. When that happens, that can cause a potential slipping hazard on the ground.

Will all the snow melt on the stainless steel mesh when the IceMelt Cover is turned on?

Yes and no. It depends a lot on the following criteria, which is mentioned in an earlier FAQ. Follow these guidelines for best results:

  1. Make sure you use a heat trace cable with sufficient wattage for melting all ice in your situation.
  2. Turn on your heat trace cable several hours before a snow storm
  3. Keep the heat trace cable turned on during the storm
  4. Keep the heat trace cable turned on after the storm until all the snow on your roof is melted.

Is this a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) type of installation or should I use a professional licensed electrical contractor?

For liability sake, I’ll defer to recommend hiring a licensed contractor. Though, many heat trace cable systems are designed in such a way that they can be plug-n-play. Even if you choose to install it yourself, you may still install it incorrectly. The most common problem would be that you will damage the cable during the installation but not know it. Then when you turn it on, it doesn’t work, and then you’ll blame it on everyone else except yourself. A licensed electrical contractor will know the proper procedures of the trade for making a sound installation and shouldn’t damage the cable.

What are some precautions I should adhere to so I don’t damage the heat trace cable when I install it?

Follow these, and any other common sense precautions you can think of, as well as any recommendations from the cable manufacturer:

  1. Do not drag the cable on the roof, if you have an asphalt shingle roof, believe it or not, those little roof sand grit granules can tear the outer jacket of the heat trace cable.
  2. Do not drag the cable on the ground.
  3. Do not bend the cable at a radius less than the cable manufacturer recommends, otherwise you can snap or break the interior wires.
  4. During the installation, do not rub the cable on the ends of the IceMelt Covers because they are sharp. I cover in detail in the video and more so in the written install guide of the procedures to follow so you don’t tear the cable.
  5. Don’t throw the cable around your car or truck. Please handle it gently at all times.

Don’t get me wrong, the outer jacket of most heat trace cables are durable, I’m just concerned if you are careless you may tear it. If you tear the outer jacket of the cable, exposing the interior cables, you’ll need to replace the entire cable. Do not try to patch it!

How will I know if the cable is a DIY cable?

I don’t think any brand will tell you it’s a Do-It-Yourself heat trace cable. I think there is too much liability at stake for the manufacturer. But the key guidelines to look for is this: is the cable terminated on one end and have a plug on the other end? If so, it’s designed to just plug into an outlet, but it must be a Ground Fault Protected Outlet.

What do you think is the biggest concern I should be aware of if I install the heat trace cable myself as a DIY install?

First of all, I have to defer this question to your local licensed electrical contractor. However, I think one main concern would be overloading your circuit. If you put too much amperage requirement on the circuit to your electrical control panel, you’ll blow the fuse over and over again and could burn your house down. Don’t do that! When you consult your electrical contractor, they can help you determine if a dedicated circuit to your control panel is necessary or not.

Can I take the existing heat tape that is in my gutter and put it on top of your gutter guard, installing the IceMelt Cover over it?

That depends if the brand cable you are using does not prohibit it. As an example, the EasyHeat brand heat trace cable has one model that I know of that instructs you not to use it within .5″ from a gutter guard, that’s the “Roof & Gutter De-Icing Kit Model ADKS” HeatTrace cable.  Because of the very low price of the cable, around $1/ft, and a very low wattage of only 5watts per foot, I presume the quality of the cable is just not there. With more rugged heat trace cables you shouldn’t have this issue, but check the instructions first on the cable before buying.

Expect to pay between $2.50 and $5.00 per foot for a heat trace cable.

It’s a question for the heat trace cable company, not me. Sorry about that. If you do put the cable on top of the gutter guard, you still may need a cable on the bottom of your gutter depending on your freezing conditions. It’s hard to say.

You may need to go through a winter and see if just one cable is enough, the cable on top of the gutter guard. If you find that it’s not enough, because maybe you are finding a lot of unwanted ice building up in your gutter and the downspout, then before the next winter season you should consider installing a heat trace cable in your gutter as well.

When putting the cable on top of the gutter guard, will that heat up the entire gutter as well so there won’t be any ice buildup in my gutter?

It will probably not heat up the entire gutter. It really depends on your freezing conditions and the period of time the freezing condition persists. You may need to go through a winter and see if the one cable on top of the gutter guard is enough. If you find that it’s not enough, because maybe you are finding a lot of unwanted ice building up in your gutter and the downspout, then before the next winter season you should consider installing a heat trace cable in your gutter as well.

Will snow melt flow through my gutter if I remove the heat trace tape from the bottom of my gutter and put it on top of the gutter guard?

If you get ice buildup in your gutter because you removed the cable from the bottom of the gutter and put it on top of the gutter guard, under the IceMelt Cover, there is a chance that the snow melt may freeze in the gutter and you won’t get any flow. It’s hard to tell, not every scenario is the same.

What heat trace cable do you NOT recommend?

There is one cable I know of, as an example, the EasyHeat brand heat trace cable has one model that I know of that instructs you not to use it within .5″ from a gutter guard, that’s the “Roof & Gutter De-Icing Kit Model ADKS” HeatTrace cable. Because of the very low price of the cable, around $1/ft, and a very low wattage of only 5watts per foot, I presume the quality of the cable is just not there. With more rugged heat trace cables you shouldn’t have this issue, but check the instructions first on the cable before buying.

Expect to pay between $2.50 and $5.00 per foot for a heat trace cable.

Please let me know of any other cable brands or models that recommend not using their heat trace cable next to a gutter guard. Just leave me a comment below. Thanks in advance!

Do I need to install the IceMelt Covers on the entire gutter?

In order to get the best performance for melting ice, we recommend that use the IceMelt Cover on your entire gutter. If you only use it here and there to hold the cable down, you will have exposed cable and will lose a significant amount of heat  from the cables. The aluminum IceMelt Covers are specially designed to absorb the heat from the cable and radiate it out farther than the cable is able to do.

Do you have a dealer or installer in my area that can install your IceMelt Cover?

Thanks for asking, but you know we don’t have a dealer network set up for this. We highly recommend that you contact a local licensed electrician. The person you may consider, just have them go to our www.IceMeltCover.com website and review the videos and installation information. Please note, we are not responsible for the quality of work or accuracy of installation from whom you choose to do the installation.