If you live where it snows and the temperature goes below freezing, you may well want to look at installing a heated gutter; otherwise, you can wind up with roof leaks from what is called an ice dam. This occurs when the snow and ice on the roof melt and go into the gutters, then this re freezes and as it does the water backs up under the shingles on the roof and when the water melts it goes to the inside causing a roof leak that can ruin ceilings and walls fairly fast.
The solution to this is either gutter tape which you plug in to electricity to keep the gutters from freezing, or to install completely new gutters with the heating elements built into them.
Installing Heat Tape
First you need to measure the roof and see how much heat tape you will need to buy. Generally the tape comes with everything needed to install it properly and instructions for it. The tape is put on the roof edge to keep ice from building up on the shingles and it is installed in the gutter and downspout to keep the water flowing.
When you are installing the heat tape, only fasten it down using the guides and fasteners recommended, otherwise you could short it out then it won’t be any good. The tape also has to have a place to plug it in to electricity to heat the roof and gutter.
Replacing your Gutters with Heated Gutters
This is another option, to replace the old gutters on the house with gutters with built in heat. There is a product called Gutter Cap that can be installed with heat in it to prevent ice dams. It is custom made for your system and attaches under the first layer of shingles to a bracket that is installed there for this purpose. This cap also keeps the gutter from clogging by keeping debris from getting into the gutter and blocking the downspouts.
If you are going to get and install the heat tape yourself, be especially careful with the ladder, or better yet, rent the scaffolding from a hardware rental store and put it up along the side of the house. This is much safer than a ladder, especially if it is a high roof edge you need to work on.
Gather your tools and project items so everything is in one place and you won’t have to stop in the middle of what you are doing to hunt for a missing part. If you can, get a helper to lend a hand installing the tape; it is a long piece and easier to handle if two people are doing it.
The key with any home owner has to be safety. The professionals have been trained to install and hook up these electrical wires that are involved with the heated systems. And in most states it is a requirement that any electrical work in the home is done by a licensed electrician.
So, installing heated gutters can be a big job, which carries with it some real safety concerns, but if you are up for it, you can save yourself some money and still get a good solution to frozen and blocked gutters. Get yourself the right equipment; recruit a friend to help and you can install your heated gutters with confidence.