Q:

What are the benefits and drawbacks of using heat tape on gutters?

A:

Quick Answer

The benefits of using heat tapes on gutters is that they keep the gutters above freezing temperatures, and they prevent ice and snow build-up. The main disadvantages are that the heat tapes require a significant amount of power, and they may create a fire hazard when the insulation breaks.

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Full Answer

The main benefit of the heat tape is that it helps to maintain the temperature of the pipes. This prevents the build-up of ice and snow on the gutters. Ice and snow impede drainage and may cause roof leaks. Keeping the gutters open also prevents water from backing up under the roof and causing damage inside the home.

However, it requires a lot of power to generate enough heat to run along the length of the tape. If the heat tape is on the same circuit with other appliances that draw a lot of power, it could blow a fuse or trip the circuit breaker. It may even leave a home without heat if it is on the same circuit as the furnace blower motor.

In order to generate enough heat, the wire has to be very thin. Since it is exposed to extreme heat and cold, the insulation easily breaks down to expose the bare wire. This may create a short circuit or fire hazard.

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