The cost of turning on rooftop heat tape in late fall and running it continuously until spring is easy, but it’s certainly not energy-efficient or cheap. You may be in for a $60+ increase in your monthly electric bill. On the other hand, running a system programmed for optimal operation time will cut that increase, perhaps in half. To install this kind of “part-time” deicing tape system, do some research first, and hire a professional.
- Learn about the 2 types of heat cable—constant wattage and selfregulating, investigate radiant heat panels, and how to use a thermostat and/or timer effectively.
- Run the cable loops in such a way that snow and ice on the roof and the gutter edges melts and drains.
- Turn the system on at the season’s first significant snowfall. Then run it before snow is anticipated to warm up the cables and begin the melting process when the snow falls.
- Have cable heated when temperatures are between 10 and 34 degrees which is when most ice dams form.
- Set the system to operate during daylight hours to promote melting using less heat. If it’s necessary, run the system for periods of 24 hours.
- Control the thermostat of a constant-wattage de-icing system based on real-time weather events using an app. Get serious about running an energy-efficient home rooftop heat tape system. Watch what goes on your roof and in your gutters this winter and plan for a more energy-efficient system next year.
By Bev Harrison