You know that it’s just a matter of time before snow will accumulate on your roof. That snow will melt, and when the temperature drops it will freeze and become ice, forming ice dams. Ice dams will slow additional melt, allowing the moisture to penetrate the roof’s shingles and the top layer of your home, causing potential damage. Additionally, the ice dams can form icicles hanging from the gutter. If these melt or break away and fall, they can hit somebody, causing injury (and liability).

That’s where roof deicing systems come in. The concept is simple. Heating cables connected to a power outlet are laid on the roof. The cables heat snow and ice to prevent ice dams from forming. They are generally easy to install and some even are automated, so they turn on only when needed. These systems, of course, will be more expensive.

And since they run on electricity, your electric bill will go up. But these systems are generally energy efficient, costing about 35 cents an hour to heat 300 square feet. And of course, the additional electricity cost is a small price to pay to prevent extensive roof damage or potential injury from a falling icicle.