Winter weather in Colorado can be tough on your residential home or commercial building. One of the most common issues homeowners in the mountains, foothills, and even in the Denver Metro area of Colorado need to deal with is ice damming on their roofs. In this post, we’ll explore what ice damming is, how it can cause damage to your home, and how heat cables, when properly installed, can prevent it.
What is Ice Damming on Roofs?
Ice damming occurs when snow and ice accumulate on your roof, and then melt due to warm air escaping from your attic. The melted snow and ice then refreeze along the edges of your roof, creating a dam in the gutter that prevents water from properly draining off the roof.
Understanding the Damage Caused by Ice Damming
Ice damming can cause serious damage to your home, including:
- Water damage to your ceilings and walls
- Damage to your roof shingles and underlayment
- Damage to your gutters and downspouts
- The growth of mold and mildew in your home
How Heat Cables Prevent Ice Damming
Heat cables are one solution to the problem of ice damming. These cables can be installed along the edges of your roof to melt the snow and ice, allowing water to flow off the roof properly. Heat cables work by heating up when they detect the presence of snow or ice, which then melts the snow or ice before it can accumulate and cause a dam.
Installing Heat Cables on Roofs: Best Practices
If you’re interested in installing heat cables on your roof, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Before purchasing heat cables, measure the length of the areas on your roof where you want to install them. This will help you determine the amount of cable you need to buy.
- Make sure to buy heat cables that are specifically designed for outdoor use and are rated for the amount of snow and ice that your area typically receives.
- Consider hiring a professional, like the team at New Roof Plus, to install the cables if you are not comfortable working on your roof, or if you have a particularly steep or high roof.
- If you plan to install the cables yourself, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and use the proper safety equipment, such as a safety harness and sturdy ladder. Home Depot and other retailers sell heat cables if you are ready for a DIY effort.
- Install the heat cables along the edges of your roof and in any areas where ice dams are prone to form, such as valleys and low-pitched areas.
- Connect the cables to a thermostat or controller that will turn them on when the temperature drops below a certain point and turn them off when the temperature rises.
Other Winter Roof Maintenance Tips
In addition to installing heat cables, there are several other things you can do to protect your roof from winter weather damage:
- Keep your gutters clean and free of debris so that water can flow off your roof properly. Standing water in the gutter will freeze and start the process.
- Make sure your attic is well-insulated and properly ventilated to prevent warm air from escaping and melting snow and ice on your roof.
- Remove any overhanging tree branches that could potentially fall on your roof and cause damage.
- Check your roof regularly for signs of damage, such as missing or cracked shingles, and make repairs as needed.
- Hire a professional to inspect your roof at least once a year to identify any potential issues before they become major problems.
Ice damming on roofs can cause serious damage to your home, but with the right preventative measures, such as installing heat cables and practicing regular roof maintenance, you can protect your home and ensure that it remains safe and comfortable throughout the winter months. By following the best practices outlined in this post, you can safeguard your roof and prevent costly repairs down the road.