One of the worst parts of winter is when you house is affected by ice dams. Ice damming harms your roof and gutters where it can cause much damage. Ice dams also give water a place to come into your house and cause wood to rot, mildew and mold growth. All of which are bad for your house and your health. Dangerous icicles form at the edges of your roof and hang from the gutters. When those icicles fall, you have to hope no one is standing there. Icicles can grow quite large from ice dams and become very dangerous. The icicles can also fall and break or damage anything you have on the ground. A well positioned icicle from the ice dam can also fall and break a window. The best thing you can do for your house and your health is prevent ice dams from forming in the first place. There are a few ways to prevent ice dams and get rid of ice dams once they have formed, but by far this is the most efficient and method. It does take a little work and a tiny bit of skill, but you will be glad for the effort.

Keeping Your Gutters and Roof Warm

Buy heat cables for your roof and gutters. Heat cables are covered wires that you run in a zig-zag pattern up and down your roof.  Lay the heat cables into gutters to prevent them from freezing up too.

Heat cables sometimes called heat wires or ice damming wires are available in hardware stores, online and home improvement stores. They are available as a kit and come with clips that you install on your roof to hold the cables or wires securely in place.

Lay the wires out in the manufacturer's recommended pattern, plug them into an electrical receptacle and no more ice dams. Make sure you plug the heat cables are plugged into a GFI outlet indoors such as an electrical receptacle in the attic.

How Do The Wires or Cables Work

The wire or cables stay just warm enough to melt snow and keep it from refreezing which causes an ice dam to begin with.

They use very little energy to run and are highly effective. When you use heat cables or wires, icicles will not form because the surface remains above freezing and will not allow icing. They do not become so hot as to burn the surface, they remain warm.


Only install heat wires and cables during good weather. Do not attempt to climb on a ladder and onto a roof when there is already snow and ice present because this is very dangerous and can lead to accidents. It is very easy to slip and fall off an icy or snowy roof.

Make sure you have an electrical receptacle in the attic or somewhere close by to plug the cable into before you try to install them. Do not plug the cables or wires into an outdoor electrical receptacle.

This is an easy do it yourself project that can be accomplished by a homeowner. You do not need a professional. With the assistance of a friend or helper this project will not take very long.

Preventing ice dams lengthens the life of your roof and gutters and saves you major headaches in the future.

Ice dams occur in any climate where the outdoor temperatures fall below 32 degrees for an extended period of time, even if the freezing temperatures only last through the night.