Heat cable is an excellent winter solution for preventing ice buildup on your roof and inside your gutters and downspouts. They’re easy to install and work well for many types of roofs–metal, shingle, rubber, tar, wood, or plastic. In addition, they are also easy to replace if they become damaged.
How to Connect a Heating Cable
To determine the length of a heating cable you need, calculate the distance from the electrical outlet where you will plug in the cable to the edge of your roof. Next, measure the length of your downspouts (if you have them) and add these measurements to the length of your cable run. For example, if your downspout is 22 feet long, you’ll need a 22-foot cable.
Once you’ve determined the length of your heating cable, it’s time to start splicing and connecting the cable to the control box and other components. Make sure all of the connections are secure and free from mechanical damage.
STEP 1. Connect Power Leads:
To power the heating cables, use a GFCI-protected outdoor electrical outlet and a grounded 3-prong plug. This type of outlet is required by local building and electrical codes. It’s not a good idea to connect these cables to extension cords or wall switches.
If you don’t have a GFCI outlet, you can purchase one separately or install a GFCI circuit breaker at the electrical box. Check the sizing of the breaker before you begin wiring to ensure that it’s large enough to handle the amount of power that will be drawn from the heating cables.
STEP 2. Lay a Heat Trace Cable on the Roof:
To install heat trace cable, clip the beginning point of the heating cable to a shingle that is slightly further up than the outside wall. This will ensure that the cable covers the entire roof overhang and won’t come loose from the shingles as snow or ice accumulates.
Once you’ve located the starting point of the cable, attach it to a shingle using one of the provided securing clips. These clips are designed to hold the cable securely, but they can be loosened if needed.
The best time to install a heating cable is on a dry, windless day. Never install a heating cable on a wet, rainy day or when the shingles are already brittle from freezing temperatures.
STEP 3. Lay the Factory Splice on the Roof:
Set the Factory Splice on the roof in a location where it will be viewed from a distance. The Factory Splice is the connection between the power leads and the heating cable. It should be a few inches above the top of the shingle to prevent tripping and damage to the shingle.
STEP 4. Locate the Floor Sensor:
In areas where there is no electrical outlet, or in bathrooms, a floor sensor can be used to monitor temperature. To install the floor sensor, mark a spot on the surface of the floor and place the sensor tip into the mark. You can then hot glue the sensor tip into place.