Gladiator Electric LLC - Licensed Electric
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In this blog, you’ll learn what are de-icing cables, and if they are right for your home.

Frozen gutters are a pain to deal with, but there’s no escaping them if you live in an area such as New Jersey, where winters can be harsh. When temperatures drop below freezing, the water in your gutters can freeze and form ice dams.

Ice dams, especially, are something you should be concerned about. For one, they’re solid, which means they’ll hinder water flow from your roof to the downspout. If continuously ignored, it’ll lead to water seeping into your home, damage your roof, and wreak havoc on the building’s foundation.

What To Do When Your Gutters Are Frozen?

The gutters are supposed to keep water away from your home, not into it. But when they’re frozen, a domino effect occurs, causing a host of problems. So, what can you do when your gutters are frozen?

Follow these steps on how to deal with this fairly common winter woe:

Start by removing icicles and debris from the gutters.

Icicles and debris add weight to the gutters, making them more prone to damage and preventing proper water flow. Use a ladder and a broom to remove any frozen debris or icicles from the gutters gently.

Create channels for melting ice.

If there’s already ice buildup in the gutters, the best you can do is to create channels to help melt it faster. Place calcium chloride tablets strategically in the gutter to speed up the melting process. Calcium chloride naturally attracts moisture; when it does, it melts the ice.

Use a hot water and vinegar mixture.

If you wish to stick to a natural method, consider pouring a mixture of hot water and vinegar into the gutters. The hot water melts the ice, while the vinegar will prevent more ice from forming. Homeowners have long used it as a natural and effective way to clear frozen gutters.

Install heating cables

If you live in an area with harsh winters, it may be worth putting your money on heating cables or gutter helmets for long-term protection against frozen gutters. Heating cables are designed to melt ice and snow, while gutter helmets prevent debris from entering the gutters in the first place. Both are excellent investments if you want to avoid dealing with frozen gutters in the future. If you need an estimate for de-icing cables, then click HERE.

Gutter covers will do the trick (for the most part).

Gutter covers are meant to prevent debris from clogging up your gutters. While they may not eliminate the risk of frozen gutters, they help significantly reduce the chances. The idea is to keep your gutters as clean and debris-free as possible because, without debris, the water flows smoothly. In other words, standing water will have less chance to freeze and form ice dams.

Be mindful of temperatures.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the weather forecast and stay ahead of potential freezing temperatures. Try to schedule your gutter maintenance before temperatures drop, and don’t think twice about taking preventative measures if you know a cold spell is coming.

What Are De-icing Cables?

As winter approaches, homeowners begin to worry about the impact of snow and ice on their homes. One area of concern is the gutters. Traditionally, gutters are prone to freezing, leading to a myriad of problems such as ice dams, foundation damage, and even personal injury from falling debris. De-icing cables help fix all all that. But what exactly are de-icing cables, and more importantly, are they worth the investment?

Understanding De-icing Cables

De-icing cables are an innovative system designed to prevent the accumulation of ice and snow in a gutter trough. By maintaining above-freezing temperatures, these systems ensure water flows freely, averting the formation of ice dams and the subsequent risks. They can either be installed as part of a new gutter system or retrofitted into existing gutters with the use of heating cables.

The Functionality of De-icing Cables

The system typically involves electrically heated cables running along the length of the gutter and sometimes the downspouts. These cables are thermostatically controlled, which means they automatically turn on when the temperature drops to a certain point, effectively melting snow and ice, preventing blockages.

The Pros of De-icing Cables

Prevent Ice Dams: By keeping the gutters warm, de-icing cables stop ice dams from forming, thereby protecting your roof and siding from water damage.

Reduce Maintenance: De-icing cables reduce the need for seasonal gutter maintenance, such as cleaning out leaves and debris before winter sets in.

Prevent Damage: They protect against the heavy weight of ice that can pull gutters away from the house or cause them to sag.

Increase Safety: By preventing ice build-up, there is a reduced risk of falling icicles or gutters, which can be a significant safety hazard.

The Cons of De-icing Cables

Installation Cost: The initial setup for de-icing cables can be quite costly, especially if retrofitting an existing system.

Energy Consumption: De-icing cables require electricity to operate, which means they will increase your energy bill during the winter months.

Maintenance: Although they reduce the need for seasonal maintenance, they are not maintenance-free. The system itself will occasionally need to be checked and maintained.

Are De-icing Cables Worth It?

Determining whether de-icing cables are worth the investment depends on several factors. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall and consistently low winter temperatures, like New Jersey, the benefits probably outweigh the costs. De-icing cables can prevent expensive repairs due to water damage and provide peace of mind when it comes to safety concerns.

Last Thoughts On De-icing Cables

Ultimately, the decision to install de-icing cables should be based on your specific circumstances, including local climate, the historical need for ice dam remediation, and the potential cost savings from avoiding winter-related damages. If you are thinking about installing de-icing cables, give Gladiator Electric a call or request an estimate on our Contact page.