The Challenge

A large assisted living facility in Iowa had gone through several renovations and additions. The combination of buildings had both flat and pitched roofs with both asphalt shingles and a rubber surface. Iowa winters added the challenge of snow and ice buildup on both the roof and gutter systems.

While some of the structures had existing heat trace cable, also known as heat tape, to eliminate buildup and ice dams, the existing system was unreliable, with the potential of dangerous electrical shorts where the cables touched.  Also, existing heat trace cable on the pitched roofs had been laid in a straight run; this added the potential for melting snow to fall on pedestrians below, as too narrow an area of the roof received adequate heat.

The Solution
The facility replaced its existing system with 5,500 feet of heating cable on the roof edges, gutters and downspouts to prevent snow and ice buildup. Ice dams on rubber roof areas had damage from previous problems; those areas were addressed with serpentine cable runs to prevent future problems. Serpentined runs were also added along pitched roof edges. This provided a wider melt area along the edge, helping to reduce any falling snow or ice, and reducing dripping water that could freeze on walkways, adding to the buildings safety. The system was controlled via circuit breakers in the facility’s main office.


  • Building maintenance issues and significant repair/replacement costs from snow/ice buildup eliminated
  • Added safety to buildings walkways below roof lines