What’s a Heat Tape Anyway?

When the winter comes, our gutters suffer greatly from it. The weight of snow is a threat to the performance of gutter systems, especially when ice dams form. It can somehow be minimized by raking the snow off your roof, but you can’t simply do it everytime. This is when a heat tape comes into play. But how does it exactly work?

Usually, a heat tape is installed in water pipes to prevent them from freezing in extremely low temperatures, which happens in winter. It’s not literally a tape though, but instead an electrical wire enclosed in a tape-like cord. It is installed in roof or along the gutters, ran in loops. It can be 30 ft up to even 150 ft long, depending on the need (it even goes up to a thousand feet). Some varieties are engineered to automatically heat up when the temperature reaches a certain point, or be activated on a specific part of the day when the weather gets snowy or cold.

Having a heat tape is extremely useful for your gutter system. An ice dam will really give your gutter a hard time, for ice dams continue to accumulate. If nothing is done with it, the gutter will be damaged due to the weight of the ice, get cracked, and will even have icicles below, which is hazardous.

If you’ll decide to buy one, make sure to have the measurement of your roof’s overhanging edge. That will give you a hint on how long your heat tape must be. For example, if your roof’s overhang is 12 inches, you will need 2 feet for every 1 foot of the roof edge. Do the math. Add also the gutter and the downspout length to come up with an approximate length of what you’ll get. A standard heat tape is 120 and 150 volts, but there’s also some that reach 500-600 volts.

When installing it, make use of the clips included. There will be clips for the roof, gutter and downspouts. Follow the instructions carefully from the manufacturer, it’ll be included in the purchase. Check the wattage to, if it can handle the power load. There’s also a control box included in the kit, so have the tape installed there and place it near the gutter, preferably in a corner.

Heat Tapes is a essential part of your gutter system as it keeps your roof safe, and icicle-free. Better get one now!


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