By: John Damanis

Heat Cables - An Ice Dam Preventative?

Tags: Home Maintenance, Roofing

Ice dams form at the edge of a roof and prevent the water of melting snow from draining off the roof. Instead of flowing into the eavestrough, the water backs up behind the dam and seeps under the shingles and into a home - damaging ceilings and walls.

If ice dams have been an issue, the first step is to seal the attic from warm air leaks. Add more insulation and be sure there's proper ventilation of the "unconditioned" spaces. Sometimes it is far too invasive or expensive to properly air seal, ventilate and insulate - in this case heat cables are a great option.

Heat cables minimize the severity of ice dams - they don't prevent them. These cables simply melt small channels through the ice dam as it forms. The channels provide a direct path for water to run off the roof and minimize the likelihood that water will accumulate behind the ice dam. Keep in mind that heat cables use quite a bit of electricity. You may want to set them on a timer so they're not on during peak hours.

About the Author: The above Real Estate information on preventing roof problems was provided by John Damanis, a leader in his field. John can be reached via email at or by phone at 905-450-8300. John has expertly helped many people move in and out of family homes, country retreats, downtown condos and suburban luxury.

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