Coronavirus Update: We care about your health and continue to service our customers safely. Read More

Skip navigation

Serving the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Area since 1995

Scherer Electric Blog

De-Icing Cables for Winter Protection From Ice Dams

You may have encountered trouble from ice dams before, even if you don’t know exactly what ice dams are. Ice dams are what occurs when water running off the side of the roof of a house freezes in the winter cold before it reaches the gutter. Ice dams can build up until they overwhelm a gutter, creating problems like water backing up into the house or broken gutters. Moisture can also get under the shingles of the roof and create serious damage.

The reason ice dams occur in the first place is the uneven heating from underneath. Warmth gathers in the attic because heat rises. This melts ice on the roof, which trickles down toward the gutter, but then reaches the cold edges of the roof where it freezes.

What can you do to stop ice dams? One option to consider calling a professional electrician in Buffalo, NY to install de-icing cables on your roof.  

The Benefits of De-Icing Cables

De-icing cables are electrical cables attached to the roof of the house. They aren’t visually distracting, but they provide enough power to melt the ice around them so it runs down into the gutter. It won’t stop the formation of all ice dams, but it does prevent the ice dams from blocking any more snowmelt from reaching the gutter. Your house won’t have a large build-up of ice along the eaves threatening to damage the roof, the gutters, and the interior of your house.

De-icing cables are not designed to completely remove snow from your roof, only create enough snowmelt to prevent ice dams from building up. How much coverage your roof needs with de-icing cables depends on the shape and slant of the roof and the places where ice dams form. The cables won’t work in extremely low temperatures (–10°F and below). However, ice dams won’t form at temperatures this cold, so it’s rarely an issue.

Installing De-Icing Cables

You’re probably wondering if putting in de-icing cables isn’t something you can do on your own. It’s not, although plenty of people try! It’s never a good idea to try to work on your roof, especially in winter. Aside from the safety issues, de-icing cables will only do their job if installed correctly. These are electrical cables that need to be connected to your household electrical system and which will function in connection to water—you really don’t want this job done sloppily or by people who aren’t sure what they’re doing. Only work with a licensed electrician who has experience with this type of service.

Our electricians are familiar with conditions in Western New York and are qualified to install de-icing cables for your house. We recommend cables that are self-regulating: they’ll generate more heat as the temperature drops and then cycle off at times when they’re not needed. Electricity is an expensive energy form, and self-regulating cables will help keep costs down.

You can ask us about other options available. We’ll find something to meet your needs and your budget.

Call on Western New York’s Favorite Electrician: Scherer Electric. We’re here 24/7—you’ll always talk to a real person.

Comments are closed.