Ice Dams and Heat Tape

November 29, 2021

What is Heat Tape?

Heat Tape, also known as heat cables, heat wire, or roof de-icing are heated cables attached to your roof that are used to melt snow and minimize ice dam buildup. It is important to note that they do not get rid of the possibility of ice dams forming, but instead, melt channels through the snow to minimize the amount of buildup and partially remove water from the area of installation.While Heat Tape is usually the first thing that comes to mind for homeowners looking for a solution to ice dams, in order to fully prevent ice dams, you have to look for the source of the problem. Typically the problem is poor attic insulation or ventilation, improper roof installation, or roof damage. For a long-term solution, the best course of action is to have an energy audit done by a roofing professional before freezing and snowy weather sets in. Before heading to Google and searching “electrician near me” or “electrical services near me”, check out these pros and cons to using heat tape.

Pros and Cons to Using Heat Tape


  • If installed by a professional, they can be very useful in minimizing water and ice buildup

If the contractor doing the installation doesn’t have a lot of experience, the cables may not be placed in the correct places on your roof to optimize results. They must be placed strategically -- usually installed in patterns along the eaves, in valleys on the roof, around chimneys and skylights, and in gutters or downspouts.

  • They are a quick fix

Quick, but temporary. Solving the underlying issue is best for long-term results.

  • Less costlyÂ

When compared to sealing air leaks in the attic, installing adequate insulation, and creating proper ventilation systems.Cons:

  • They are not a cure-all

They only melt the snow and ice directly around them to create channels for water to flow to the gutters. If your gutters are clogged, the water will freeze there instead of flowing away from your home.

  • They are an added utility expense

In the winter months, you will likely need to have them turned on for days at a time which can add to your electricity bill.When and Why You Should Install Heat TapeLiving in a seasonally cold climate like Minnesota, our homes are prone to having an excess amount of snow, ice, and water building up on the roof. Heat tape is a short-term solution to minimizing leaks and roof damage and it must be installed before cooler weather and snow sets in. The optimal time for installation is August - October. If you think heat tape may be a good solution for your home, please reach out to us at (612) 662-0150 to schedule with one of our licensed, insured, and experienced Electricians.

Looking for Electricians in the Minneapolis St. Paul Metro Area?

If you're dealing with a dark home, smoke from your outlets or need a little help dealing with your circuit breaker box, the team at Randy’s Electric can be over in no time. Our team of licensed electricians has seen it all and can fix your issues, no matter how serious. Get in contact today to schedule an appointment.