Precautions when Installing a Roof De-icing Cable

Having moderate DIY skills, my hubby and I felt capable of installing a roof de-icing cable, and purchased a kit from Home Depot. The only tools needed, per the instructions, were a tape measure, marker, gloves and a ladder. My hubby also included pliers, since no DIY handyman ever tackles a job – much less considers installing a roof de-icing cable – without them.

With our life insurance agent’s phone number in one hand, and the DIY kit in the other, we proceeded to follow directions (for detailed instructions, visit – clipping the cable to the shingles, insuring the cable didn’t crisscross, and making sure to run it in the valleys and gutter. When finished, we no longer had to worry about ice dams during the winter. In the process, we learned a few tricks/precautions about installing a roof de-icing cable.

Wait for warm weather. Although we were worried about ice dams during the previous winter, we decided not to tempt fate and waited until warm weather to install the roof de-icing cable. Unless anxious to see how well you’re insured, consider doing the same. Be aware, however, that in the middle of the summer it may get hotter than Hades up there, so if installing a roof de-icing cable during the hot months, start as early as possible in the morning.

Wear knee pads. You’ll spend a lot of time on your knees. The ridges in a roof, not to mention the gravel on asphalt shingles, take a toll on those kneecaps. Wear knee pads to make it more comfortable when working with the de-icing cable.

Take a bucket up.
There are always odds and ends sitting around by the time you’re done. Shingle clips, cable spacers, packaging material or a few errant roofing nails are all items that need to come down with you on this DIY project. A small bucket (with a handle) makes carrying those items easy and you can still navigate the ladder.

Keep your center of gravity low.
Installing a roof de-icing cable truly is a DIY project that requires very little expertise (as long as a weatherproof, GFCI outlet is already installed). To maintain safety, however, keep your backside down. If you slip, you’ll be better able to catch yourself rather than tumbling head-over-heels.

In conclusion, purchase a kit and follow the instructions. But, remember – wait for warm weather, wear knee pads, take a bucket up, and keep a low center of gravity. In the end, the DIY project of installing a roof de-icing cable should be as simple for you as it was for us.

Personal DIY experience.

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