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Are heating cables from big box stores good enough to protect my gutters from ice dams?

Updated: May 18, 2023

It’s no secret that heating cables are one of the best options in preventing ice dams. You may have seen some for sale at your local big box store, but are they good enough to protect your gutters from ice dams? Keep reading to find out how a few of our readers responded to that question. Melanie Musson is a home maintenance expert with

Make Sure to Install Correctly

Heating cables from big box stores are good enough to prevent ice dams in some situations.

The way it is installed is critical to its effectiveness, so even if the cables themselves are effective, the improper installation could render them useless.

The heating cables must be secured into place, or they’ll slide off the roof, but the trickiest part of installing them is getting the proper spacing. Also remember to lay cable in the gutter and downspout.

If snow and ice melt from the roof, the water will flow into the gutter. If you don’t have a heating cable in the gutter, the water will freeze, creating an ice dam, making your heating cables pointless.

Do Your Homework

Big box stores will sell effective and less-than-effective heating cables. So, when shopping at one of these stores, the most important thing to do is look for quality, proven brands.

I would actually recommend researching the best products and brands online first so that you know which ones to look for when you go shopping. Unless you need the cables ASAP, you might want to consider ordering online so that you can get the best product for the best price. Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love. Brian Donovan, CEO, Timeshatter.

Specialty Stores Are a Better Option

Specialty stores usually sell heating cables at a better price than big box stores. Plus, they usually sell more quality options, though you can still find some good ones at big stores.

While heating cables can help prevent ice dams, it’s important to remember that there is more that you can do to prevent them. Specifically, the insulation below your roof plays a huge factor in whether or not ice-dams form.


This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.

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