Heat Tape 101 – Don’t Get Iced!

With winter right around the corner, now is a great time to start thinking about taking some preventative measures to stop ice-damming and harsh winter damage to your roof and gutters.  A simple heat tape installation will save you time, maintenance, and in the long-run costly repairs to your property.

That said, not all heat-tape or heat tape installers are created equal.  There are a couple of things to make sure of before you go to the time and expense of a heat-tape installation:

  • Installed Professionally: In Utah Commercial Grade Heat Tape can only be installed by a Licensed Electrician.  This is because commercial grade heat tape requires advanced electrical experience including dealing with electrical connections, crimps, splices, terminations, wiring methods, and load calculations that only electricians are trained to safely handle.  Others don’t understand how to properly layout heat tape circuits so as not to overload the house circuits.  All heat tape circuits have to be GFCI protected and that GFCI protection must be “equipment” rated.  All types of heat tape, if not installed correctly, could potentially cause harm to people or property.  If your installer is not a Licensed Electrician, then they are either:  1 – breaking the law, or 2 – installing a non-commercial grade kit.

Professional Heat Tape Install

  • Commercial Grade Heat Tape:  Don’t waste your money on those do-it-yourself kits from the hardware store.  They may cost less up-front, but you’ll be lucky if they last more than one or two years before you need to replace them.  When installed professionally, Commercial Grade Heat Tape will last for many years, and is a much better value in the long run!
  • Experience Matters:  It is important to hire an installer who has experience working with existing construction, to ensure that no damage is done to your roof or gutters.  The last thing you want to do is to have someone put a bunch of holes in your roof while you are trying to protect your roof from ice and snow damage.
  • Done Right:  The method of heat tape installation is also critical – there is a very specific pattern that must be followed to make sure that the ice-melt system is both efficient and effective.  The entire circuit must be tied into your panel and planned for in terms of the power it will be drawing to prevent tripping breakers (or worse).

This time of year we see a lot of “handymen” types of contractors out there offering heat tape systems.  To make sure that you’re getting a good system and good value make sure that you talk to a Licensed Electrician who is experienced in installing commercial grade heat tape systems.

At Arc Blue Electric, all of our electricians are licensed and have the experience and know-how to guarantee a safe, effective and efficient heat tape system for your home. Call us today for an estimate.