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Advantages of Self-Regulating Heat Cable

Updated: May 18, 2023

When it comes to heat cable, there are two different types: constant wattage cable and self-regulating cable. We want to discuss the advantages of the latter.

Self-regulating heat cable is a type of heat cable that automatically adjusts its heat output based on the outdoor temperature. As the ambient temperature lowers, the heat output of the cable increases. Or, if the ambient temperature rises, the heat output will decrease.

If you have been looking into heat cable at all, you have probably come to the realization that self-regulating heat cable is more expensive than constant wattage heat cable. But, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

There are far more advantages than disadvantages when it comes to self-regulating heat cable.

Appropriate For All Roof Types

No matter what type of roof you have, self-regulating heat cable is designed to work. Whereas constant wattage cable is not designed for metal roofs. A constant wattage cable can short out or fail when installed on a metal roof. Self-regulating heat cable is safe to use on metal roofs, as well as any other type of roof.


Self-regulating heat cable comes off of a big roll. The cable can be cut-to-length and t-lined off in various directions. This makes it easy to fit the layout of your roof or the pipes in which you want it installed. This type of cable can even be overlapped in certain areas without the risk of overheating. This can simplify the design and save time and manpower during installation, lowering the cost of the project. Depending on what you need for your specific roof, there are also different wattage options. Self-regulating heat cable has options for chemical and oil-resistant situations or explosion-proof containment systems. This makes it possible for places such as oil refineries to still have a heat cable system installed.

Life-span and Warranty

Self-regulating heat cable generally comes with a longer warranty—often 10 years of protection. Constant wattage, on the other hand, tends to be limited to a one to three year warranty. Not only do you get a great warranty when choosing self-regulating cable, but you can also expect it to last a long time. This type of cable is so heavy duty and durable that it can last up to 20 years.

Energy Efficient

As stated above, self-regulating heat cable adjusts the power output based on the surrounding outdoor temperature. Since only needed energy is consumed, this is the most energy-efficient type of heat cable.

Different Applications

Not only is self-regulating heat cable an excellent option for roofs, but it is also used in other applications. It can be used for frost or freeze protection of gutters, doors, drains, pipes, and valves. Self-regulating heat cable can also be used for things such as temperature maintenance and anti-condensation control. There is even a self-regulating heat cable designed for sprinkler systems in buildings to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Keeps Up with the Cold

When temperatures dip below 20°F, self-regulating heat cable is the clear winner in heat cable options. As temperatures drop, this type of cable simply increases the amount of power it is using, providing more heat. This additional heat creates larger areas for the meltwater to appropriately leave the roof. Once temperatures fall below that 20°F range, constant wattage cables will begin to fail. They can get overwhelmed when it gets that cold and may end up leaving you with the very problems they were installed to prevent. Self-regulating heat cable is designed to work in virtually any environment or climate. This makes it the perfect choice to help prevent ice dams, snowpack, frozen pipes, etc., no matter where you live.

Long-Term Cost-Efficient

Because self-regulating heat cable has a good warranty, a longer life span, is more energy-efficient, is durable, and is customizable to the exact size you need, it is more cost-efficient in the long run. It is usually recommended to have a skilled professional install this type of heat cable. And, it may be necessary to make some electrical modifications to accommodate the cable. These might seem to contradict the claim of being more cost-effective, but hear us out. If your heat cable system isn’t installed correctly, your system may not function correctly. It may even end up failing long before it should. If you have a skilled professional install your heat cable, you can rest assured that it is installed correctly and should last for many years. It is often necessary to make some electrical modifications. Most homes are not set up to electrically accommodate self-regulating cable. An added circuit or other electrical changes may be required. Although this is an added cost, it is worth it in the long run to ensure your heat cable system powers up and operates correctly. To put it simply, a little extra cost up front will be a drop in the bucket compared to the years of home protection that you’ll get from self-regulating cable. You won’t have to worry about the unexpected disasters related to ice dams, heavy snowpack on roofs, and frozen pipes. As you can see, there are many advantages to choosing a self-regulating heat cable. One thing to remember is that self-regulating heat cable does not turn off and on on its own. It only adjusts the heat output based on the ambient temperature. Many people get confused by this. But, taking a quick minute to turn on the heat cable is much better than spending hours in the cold trying to fix problems because of an ice dam or frozen pipes. It’s much better to sit back and relax while the heat cable does the work for you, keeping your roof free from ice-dams and keeping your pipes from freezing.

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