Ice Dams? 5 Key Features of a Heated Gutter Guard

ice dams

In some climates in North America, ice dams are so prevalent, people just want to have a heated gutter guard. Although we think there are issues to consider (like your electric bill and what happens where the water refreezes) some folks just want the issue addressed from the start.

Avoid Icicles With a Heated Gutter Guard

A heated gutter guard can stop icicles and ice dams from forming.

Heated Gutter Guard Cost and Performance

We don’t think a heated gutter guard should cost an arm and a leg and its performance should be no different from a non heated gutter guard. Homeowners who get estimates for some heated micro mesh gutter guards may get sticker shock to find it will cost $40 A FOOT OR MORE to get the product installed. We know of one company in Wisconsin that combines it with a heated roof edge and charges $100/foot. Unconscionable, in our opinion, because a heated gutter guard doesn’t have to be more complicated than our patent-pending approach. It certainly will cost more than an unheated gutter guard, but most of the price difference should be for the cost of the heat cable and labor for the installer, not for inconsequential extras in the product itself. Surprised we’re sharing this? Times are tough, and it’s really important that people buy a product that delivers performance year round rather than a marketing message. We’d like to be known as the company that teaches the truth about heated gutter guards.

Working with the guidance of one of the largest heat cable suppliers, we’ve created a list of the 5 key features of a heated gutter guard.

5 Key Features of a Heated Leaf Guard

  1. The Heated Area of the Gutter Guard Shouldn’t Compromise the Water Receiving Area of the Gutter Guard. Remember, first and foremost, you’re buying a gutter guard and, for more than 10 months of the year, you’ll need it to take water when it rains. You don’t want to narrow the water receiving area of the product or water will be more likely to overshoot the gutter guard, particularly in heavier rains. Heated MasterShield’s water receiving micro-mesh surface is not altered in any way, nor does the heating cable interfere with the amount of water we can handle in any season.
  2. Allow the heat to radiate! Keep that heat cable exposed to as much open air as possible to make sure all the heat you generate is used efficiently. Think about what happens when you put a solid surface between heat and another object – you’ll impact the transfer of heat. Need a quick example? Put your hand a few inches over the heating element on your stove–you’ll feel heat fast! Then, put a frying pan between the element and your hand. You’ll feel nothing until a few minutes later when the frying pan slowly distributes heat and gets hot. If the heated metal of the pan can’t radiate the same amount of heat you felt right from the flame itself, the same thing will happen with a heat cable and snow and ice. Direct heat through open air works best.
  3. Thinner products heat faster, heat will be transfered into more of the product and thin costs less to heat! The body of our heated MasterShield is perforated, so heat easily transfers through it and our stainless steel filter. The filter itself is 99.7% air and water permeable so heat passes through it as if it isn’t there at all. More heat gets where you want it, addressing melting the snow, icicles and ice. Once the metal heats up, the heat can quickly transfer to the gutter below as well. A thick gutter guard with a metallic cover will require you to install a heat cable with higher wattage (read more expensive); heat will travel through less of the product as well.
  4. Let the water touch the heat cable. So long as there isn’t a rip or tear in the cable, there is no issue with water coming in contact with it. This will allow the maximum transfer of heat to the water dropping into the gutter below.
  5. You’ll want flexibility in the placement of the heating element. You’ll want the heating element located in the optimal place for thawing. Most $40 per foot heated gutted guards give you no choice about how much heat you use or where you can position the heat. Heated MasterShield can be adapted to your requirements because situations and needs vary from home to home. In this way, we can produce the maximum value from the energy you’re willing to spend to stop your ice problems from happening in the first place.

A little extra effort in researching a heated gutter guard can save you thousands of dollars in both the cost of the product and the cost to use its features. While heating a gutter guard can be extremely important for you, it shouldn’t break the bank when your main goal is to stop the issues of ice dams, icicles and snow build up in the first place.