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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3473
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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I have ice dam problems on my roof and am wondering whether

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I have ice dam problems on my roof and am wondering whether heating cables will work. There seems to be no agreement on this. Do they stop the ice dams or just move it further up the roof?
I have a 2 story house with a steeply pitched roof. The dams occur in the gutters in two places, both of which have closets under the eaves. I have Leaf Guard. I had new insulation put in but still get ice dams.
I have an estimate from an electrician of $2300 to install the new wiring required and the cables.
I live in Minnesota where we have heavy snow, very cold weather, and alternate freezing and thawing name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. My goal is to exceed your expectations on Just Answer!


1) I live in North Central Illinois and a few areas of my home also had ice damming problems. I installed the heating cables in a 2 foot zig-zag pattern on the roof shingles, along inside the gutter and the downspouts and I no longer have an ice build-up since it melts the ice and/or snow.


2) What is the approximate distance for the heat cables that the electrician provided you a quote for?


3) Does the quote also include a new circuit? If so, how many circuits and what is the amperage?


4) Does the damming occur on the higher elevation (2nd story) or on the lower elevation or both?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The cables would go up 4 feet on the roof but because I have Leaf Guard they cannot be laid in the gutter. There would be 2 new circuits; I don't know the amperage but the cables would draw 800 each.

The damming only occurs on the lower level.

1) Thanks for the replies Judy.


2) Most likely the electrician will install (2) two dedicated 20 amp circuits depending upon how many cables are required.


3) $2300 seems somewhat expensive. Have you received a few other electrical quotes?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have not gotten another estimate yet. He charges $70 ph, it will be 18 hrs of labor, and the commercial grade tape will be $600.

It's still a question of will it work? The Leaf Guard is similar to Gutter Helmet so he will not be able to lay the cable inside the gutter.

1) The heat cables will take care of a few feet of roof shingles but will not take care of the gutter issue due to the Leaf Guard. Since there are no leaves in winter time, just remove the sections of Leaf Guard in order to place the heat cables inside the gutter and downspout. In springtime, re-install the Leaf Guard. I also have gutter guards and I remove them every late November and re-install them every early April. Can your Leaf Guards not be temporarily removed?


2) 18 hours of labor seems a bit steep. The labor portion will depend upon the amount of heat cables and the distance to the exterior receptacles from the main electric panel for the new circuits. I would recommend on getting 2 additional price quotes and then compare.



Kevin and 3 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you

Judy..... thank you for the excellent rating as well as the bonus... much appreciated!


If you have any follow-up questions, just reply back to this question. No need to create another question.


Take care and have a great day...............Thanks..................Kevin!

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