DIY Heat Cable
Updated: May 23
DIY Your Heat Cable Like a Professional!
It’s Springtime, and it’s the perfect time to knock out those DIY projects! Winter is still a little way’s off but it’s never too late to start preparing your home for the snow and ice. Trust us, you’ll be glad when that first snow hits that you took did the work months ago! You can pick up constant wattage heat cable at your local hardware store such as Lowe’s and Home Depot. We’ve been doing heat cable day in and day out for years, and we know the issues that homeowners end up having when it comes to their self installed heat cable system. Read and watch along to learn from the professionals to make sure that your DIY heat cable is indistinguishable from a professional install!
Step 1: Remove your old heat cable
If you have heat cable that isn’t working on your roof, obviously you’re going to need to take that off first. If this isn’t the case, feel free to skip this step! Many times we go out to jobs where a homeowner had working heat cable on their roof, had a new roof installed on their home, and when the contractors put the cable back on, it no longer works! This is a common problem because constant wattage heat cable is not quite as industrial as self regulating (which a professional must install). While you’re taking off your old heat cable, make sure that you are not pulling up on the clips and bending your shingles. The clips should just slide right out! Roll up the cable and throw it in the trash!
Step 2: Where do you need cable, and how much do you need?
There are certain areas of your roof that are more important to cover when it comes to where you want to install heat cable. The walkway, for example, is a prime area where slipping hazards exist in icy conditions. You definitely don’t want icicles dripping onto high traffic areas, so that is one example of a place you want melt water to be flowing smoothly into the gutter.
Step 3: Choose a power source
You’re going to need to plug in your constant wattage heat cable. Check around your home in the area that you are installing the heat cable and take note of your options. Watch the video below to watch us go through a few options we found on this home. We ultimately chose to install a brand new power source in the soffit, which we would recommend you hire an electrician to do.
Step 4: Calculate your “zig zags”
You definitely don’t want your heat cable to look like it was just thrown on top of your roof. So how do the professionals map out those clean, symmetrical zig zags? Well, there’s some math involved. You’ll need the measurements from step 2 to make these calculations, which will also tell you how much heat cable you really need to buy for your work. Watch below for a thorough explanation of what you’ll need to do.
Step 5: Mark your clips
Rather than install your clips as you go, it’s best to take the extra step to mark the spots that your clips are going to go. Use your measurements from step 4 to make sure that your spacing is even.
Step 6: Set your clips
The most important thing when it comes to setting the clips for your heat cable is to not use nails, screws, staples, or any method that will leave holes in your roof. This will affect the integrity of your roof and void the warranty for the areas that there are holes! Instead, slide your clips under the shingles and set them with an adhesive.
Step 7: Lay your cable
It’s time to lay your heat cable! All of these previous steps are very important to take leading up to this final step! The video below will take you through all of the things that are important to remember to make sure that your heat cable will be functional. For example, make sure your cable isn’t touching itself! This can cause shortages, so you’ll need to install spacers in certain spots.