DIY – De-Icing Cable Install



Put the de-icing cable on the roof to stop the ice dams from building up, backing up and dripping into the living and hall.


Don’t fall off the ladder. I cannot stress this enough. You don’t know what’s down there that could get in your eye or under your nails. Do not fall off the ladder. Wear shoes. Don’t plug in the de-icing┬ácable first. Plug it in last.


  • ladder
  • a bigger ladder for those hard to reach places
  • scaffolding to hold up the bigger ladder if necessary


  • De-icing cable

Job Plan

  1. Start on the edge where you want your de-icing cable to plug in.
  2. Using the included metal clips fasten the de-icing cable in a V pattern.
  3. Tuck excess cable where it will do the most good (likely the gutters).
  4. Monitor your roof. If it looks like you are experiencing melt in certain areas, do not wait to turn on your de-icing cable.


So the roof started to leak after I put the de-icing cable on. I’m sitting in the living room one cold winter day and I hear a slow drip build to a steady drip. I forgot to or didn’t bother to turn the de-icing cable on. I run outside in my underpants and turn on the three corners where I managed to lay the cable. I mop up the water, put a bucket under the drip and a drying fan against the wall. The drip stops and I hear a steady stream of water dripping outside when I go to check.

I call a few insulation companies to get a quote to actually deal with the problem. Because of my vaulted ceilings I would basically need to rip the whole roof off to re-insulate. I consult with my insurance company and I mention that animals may have pushed the insulation down or something according to the insulation guy. Immediately, animals are a red flag and not covered. I back peddle as best I can and they agree to start a claim.

After doing some research and talking to the consulting contractor, it looks as if the claim likely won’t go through to fix the actual problem: the insulation, but I do have a reasonable claim for the water damage because of ice damming. Likely, I won’t claim because I have a relatively high deductible and because I’ll probably be fighting the same fight with the roof next year unless I actually (1) turn the heating cable on in time or (2) do something about the heat loss.

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