Heated Gutter Guards
As the days grow shorter, the question of whether you need a heated gutter system is asked more and more often by homeowners. Particularly by those who have memories of bad winters and are aware of the threat of polar air sweeping down from the Arctic again this year.
Gutter heaters are worth considering if you live where snow and ice can clog your gutters. Sadly, few people think they’ll ever need gutter heaters until it’s too late – then they have to deal with monster problems.
The first question to ask when considering a heated gutter system is, “Where do you live?”
Heated gutter systems are a great option for homeowners who live in the snow belt of the United States where icicles and ice damming can occur. When deciding whether to purchase heated gutter systems, you need to look at what your average winter will bring in regards to cold and snow, and not make a decision based on just last winter’s weather.
Think about how fast your snow melts. Does only an inch or two of snow fall and then melt quickly? Even in cold climates, snow may melt off your roof in just a few days time.
Next ask, “When was the last time my attic was checked for sufficient insulation?”
Does the amount of R-value up there meet current standards? Many homes built as recently as the 1980s may need more insulation.
One of the reasons that ice damming and icicles occur is lack of proper insulation in your attic. As heat is released through your roof, it causes snow to melt during the day and refreeze at night. Letting this cycle continue over just a few days can cause major problems.
You may think you can solve them with just heated gutter systems, but the insulation in your attic is just as important. It’ll also leave you with lower heating bills to boot!
Lastly, think about protecting the gutter from clogging with the help of a heated gutter system. Adding a heating element makes cleaning out your gutters more complicated.
You can’t just scoop out all the debris that collects in your gutters. You’ll always have to manage around that wire. That’s why we prefer heated gutter systems with a micro mesh gutter guard like MasterShield, since you can keep your gutters from having anything but water enter them – all debris simply blows off your roof.
Benefits of Installing Gutter Heaters
- Safety. When gutters fill with ice, there’s a greater chance that icicles can form along their front lip. Icicles will then drip water onto your front walk, your stoop, your deck or your driveway in front of your garage, turning all of these surfaces into potential skating rinks. No one wants to risk a fall, and gutter heaters will stop the problem from starting in the first place.
- Protects your investment. Water damage from frozen gutters can lead to costly home repairs (sheet rock, insulation, floors, siding, etc.) and damage to precious household items. Heaters allow melting snow from your roof to continue to flow away from where it can do the most damage.
- Saves you money. Installing heaters is probably a lot less than your insurance deductible and, if used properly, can save you from unexpected problems during the cold of winter.
- Convenience and peace of mind. Gutter heaters mean you can flick a switch and forget about the snow fall.
How to Choose a Heated Gutter System
Which system do you chose?
The least expensive way to go is a very simple system where a heat cable is applied to your gutters and then is run down the downspouts of your home, preferably near an outlet.
Before a winter storm hits, you plug it in and the wire throws off heat thereby melting any snow that would accumulate around it. This is a low-voltage system and is meant to be used before snow accumulates on a heated gutter system. This is best suited for those located in areas that do receive snow but where the winters are not generally too severe.
The second heated gutter system are a higher voltage and can to a certain extent melt existing snow that has accumulated on the system if not turned on before a storm. These systems are installed and then must be hardwired by an electrician. They often come with sensors that will turn the heated gutter system on and off daily depending on the outside temperature. Though expensive, this is a must for those that live in an area where snow falls heavy and often, or for those that want the convenience of a “set and forget” heated gutter system.
Features of a Heated Gutter Guards to Consider
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. 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.
- The Heated Area of the Gutter Guard Shouldn’t Compromise the Water Receiving Area of the Gutter Guard. You don’t want to narrow the water receiving area of the product or water will be more likely to overshoot the gutter guard, especially during 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 it can handle in any season.
- 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.
- Thinner products heat faster, heat will be transferred 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.
- 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.
- 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 gutter 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.
Ice Shield For Heated Gutters & Downspouts
How does Ice Shield by MasterShield work?
A MasterShield heated gutter guard melts ice and eliminates ice dams.
Ice Shield can be heated with a self-regulating heat cable or a constant wattage heat cable. You can heat an area as small as above an entrance way or an entire gutter run. The heat cable prevents ice and ice dams from forming in your gutters while allowing water to flow through gutters that would normally freeze solid.
Imagine the pleasure of walking into your home even on the snowiest of days and not worrying about slipping on an ice-covered stoop. Melted snow from your roof will flow freely through your gutters and downspouts. With heated gutter guards, you’ll never have to worry about your gutters pulling away from your home..
Ice Shield Heated Gutter Guards offer:
- No fundamental changes to our award winning micro mesh gutter guard performance. We don’t compromise the filtering area just to accommodate a heating cable.
- The highest water receiving area of any heated gutter guards. No summer thunderstorms can overflow a gutter with our heated system, making it a true four-season gutter guard.
- A micro mesh gutter guard that will keep out all organic debris, from leaves to shingle grit.
- The ability to adapt our heated features to the needs of your home. Other products can only heat the front lip of the gutter. Ice Shield by MasterShield is completely adaptable to your unique needs and situation.
Best of all, you’ll have all of the benefits of a traditional MasterShield gutter guard. Our multi-patented, self-cleaning micro-mesh technology has been highly reviewed independent testing by builders and home improvement experts.
You’ll still be able to keep out leaves and other debris, and you’ll still be able to collect rainwater for your spring and summer gardening. You won’t be cleaning out your gutters every spring and fall. Add in the best warranty in the business, and you’ll never worry about your gutters again in any season with our heated gutter guards.
Frequently Asked Questions about Heated Gutter Guards & Heated Gutter Systems:
Will heated gutter guards run up my electric bill in the winter?
No, they will not. Heated gutter systems from MasterShield can be ordered with a self-regulating heat cable. A self-regulating heat cable will adjust the amount of heat it puts out based on the temperature of the surface. This means that when it is not needed, it will not be working and won’t be using any electricity.
Will my heated gutter guards be visible year-round?
Because we install the heated gutter systems ourselves, this is always done in the most unobtrusive way possible.
Are heated gutters a potential fire hazard?
A professionally installed and wired heated gutter system is 100% safe when it comes from MasterShield.
Will heated gutter guards affect the performance of my MasterShield copper gutter guards?
Yes, and they will actually improve the performance of your gutter guards! This is because when combined with MasterShield’s new copper technology, your heated gutter guards will work better throughout the year. Our new copper technology weaves 99.9% pure copper wire into a 316 stainless steel filter. Combined with heated gutter systems, you will never have to worry about your gutters again!