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Wintery cold temperatures will soon be upon much of the United States. This leaves homeowners and builders dreading the fearsome power of ice dams, which can cause a good deal of damage to a home.

Here, Minnesota Post blogger Joe Palumbo takes a look at one product designed to prevent this wintertime woe. He says that heat cables (also known as heat tape or heat wires) can work in certain situations, but he doesn't recommend them to most homeowners. Here's one reason why:

Heat cable doesn’t fix the root cause of the problem: too much snow on a roof that’s overheated because warm air is leaking into your attic.

90% of the time that problem is fixable, and it all starts with a quality home energy audit from someone who understands insulation, ventilation, and ice dams. You’ll probably be urged to seal up spaces where warm air is sneaking into your attic – like around light fixtures, outlets, etc. These areas that allow air-leaks into your attic are called “attic bypasses.” Your energy auditor may also tell you to double down on your insulation, or to improve your ventilation, or both.

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