Heat Tape for Gutters

Do you have ice dams growing in your gutters? If you have trouble with water freezing in your gutters, heat tape for gutters can be used to stop it from happening. We will discuss whether or not heat tape for gutters really works, tell you how to install it and where to get it.

Heat tape for gutters is used for deicing roofs and gutters. It can be installed along your gutters and ran in loops up and down your roof overhang to keep ice and snow from building up. In a bad snow storm, the weight of the snow and ice on the roof can cause severe damage. Electric heat tape for gutters and roofs will prevent any buildup of snow and ice and save your roof and gutter system from damage in particularly bad weather.

Sizes of Tape

The heat tape comes is a variety of sizes and is available in most big hardware stores. They come in lengths from 30 feet to 150 feet long. They are engineered to come on when the temperature of the tape falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and they keep ice and snow from forming wherever they are installed.

Most tapes run on 120 volts of electricity, but some heavy duty types use 240 volts or even as high as 600 volts when used in extreme conditions for industrial use. For home use, they will generally either be 120 or 240 volts. This method of raising the surface temperature of an area to prevent freezing is also known as trace heating.

Why Gutter Heat Tape

Gutter heat tape is necessary to keep, what are referred to as ice dams from forming at your roof’s edge. When snow and ice build up on the roof, it melts and runs down to the gutters. With freezing and thawing conditions, the gutters eventually fill up with ice and the ice continues to grow as water runs down to the gutters.

The ice will eventually form a wall that blocks run off water from going over the edge which only further complicates the situation .The best way to effectively stop the ice from building up is to install gutter and roof heat tape on your home’s gutters and roof slopes.

Cost

The cost of protecting your home’s gutters and roofs with electric gutter heat tape will depend largely on the size of the perimeter of your roof. Generally, you want to run the heat tape the entire length of the gutters as well as running it along the roof ‘s overhanging edge in 2 to 4 feet loops along it’s entire length. The size of the roof’s overhang will determine how much heat tape you will need.

If you have a 12 inch overhang, you will need 2 feet for every 1 foot of roof edge. If the overhang is 24 inches, you will need 3 feet and if it is 36 inches, you will need 4 feet per foot of roof edge. You will have to do the math based on these examples to figure out about how many feet you will need for your home.

Now, let’s do some comparison shopping to see what the product will cost by the foot, so you can come up with an estimate. Online we found that 30 feet of Easy Heat brand gutter heat tape goes for $41.85 at hechinger.com. That is a standard home grade, 120 volt, 150 watt heat tape for gutters and roofs. On the same site, the same brand in 60 foot lengths and rated at 300 watts was $52.65. Heat tape with a length of 100 feet and rated 500 watts was $67.65. That should give you an idea of what it will cost to do your home.

Installing Gutter Heat Tape

    1. If you have an overhang, measure it. If it is 12 inches, multiply the measurement by 2, if it is up to 24 inches, multiply by 3 and if it is up to 48 inches, multiply by 4. This is the length of heat tape you will need to run over the overhang part of the roof.

    2. Measure the gutter length and the downspout length and add these figures to your total from step one to determine the total length of gutter heat tape you will need.

    3. The heat tape will come with special clips to install it. There will be clips for gutters, roofs and for downspouts. Follow the installation instructions that come with your gutter heat tape. The manufacturer’s instructions will explain how to attach the different types of clips in detail. Follow the instructions carefully. Different brands may vary.

    4. Run the heat tape up and down the roof only over the part that overhangs the house and attach it to the roof with the clips provided according to the instructions.

    5. Then run lengths across the gutter and spouts. You may run one length over the roof, gutter and spout if it is long enough, otherwise, use more than one length and plug them into different outlets if possible. Check the outlet’s wattage rating to be sure it can handle the load.

    6. Plug the heat tape into the automatic control box included in the heat tape’s installation kit.

    7. Attach the control box to the soffit directly under the gutter near the corner of the house. Use the screws provided.

    8. Now run the power cord from the control box to the nearest electrical outlet and plug it in.

That’s all there is to it! Installation instructions will vary from brand to brand, so be sure to follow the instructions that come with the gutter heat tape that you purchase. This is only the basic instructions, since individual, detailed manufacturer’s instructions need to be followed. You may also get advice from the hardware store you purchase the gutter heat tape from if you have any additional questions. In some milder climates, they may recommend only installing heat tape on northern facing gutters. Check with your area retailer for the best practices in that area. Good luck and stay warm while working on your gutter heat tape system!