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Old 06-12-2013, 12:58 PM   #1
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Gutter de-icing cable not working


Okay, this is a long post so I'll just ask my 2 questions first and then go into detail.

1. If my eavestrough deicing cable is looped around the main electric service conduit on the roof of my house, is it unsafe to remove it (it's broken).

2. Is it possible to fix a deicing cable - say, replace the sensor or whatever?

Details:

I had an electrician install a gutter de-icing cable which wraps around the downpipe. He had to run some cable to install an outdoor GFCI receptacle to power it (the downpipe is on the exterior side of the garage wall, next to the electric meter and service conduit).

It only worked for one or two winters and then stopped working. When I checked the receptacle I saw it had tripped the breaker. What does that mean?

I'd like to get rid of it but the electrician wrapped it around the tall L-shaped bracket that extends above the roof and shields the main service conduit (with the wires running from the electric company to the meter).

Is there any possibility that there's live voltage running through this bracket (The conduit on the exterior wall obviously isn't live), making it dangerous to try to unwrap the deicing cable (it's only looped around once). I have a multimeter and I'm pretty familiar with proper code when it comes to electrical work that I've done, but I'm a bit nervous hanging around those high amp wires.

I'm also wondering where the sensor is on this deicing cable, and if it's possible to fix, or do you just replace the whole thing.

Thanks

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Old 06-12-2013, 02:07 PM   #2
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Gutter de-icing cable not working


Post a picture so we can see what your talking about.

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Old 06-12-2013, 02:26 PM   #3
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Gutter de-icing cable not working


The last picture shows you how it's looped around the bracket/conduit
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Gutter de-icing cable not working-img_4654.jpg   Gutter de-icing cable not working-img_4655.jpg   Gutter de-icing cable not working-img_4657.jpg  

Last edited by helium44; 06-12-2013 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 06-12-2013, 03:27 PM   #4
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Gutter de-icing cable not working


A licensed electrician did that?
Very unlikely that angle iron has voltage running through it.

Last edited by sublime2; 06-12-2013 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:37 PM   #5
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Gutter de-icing cable not working


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A licensed electrician did that?
Very unlikely that angle iron has voltage running through it.
Yeah, I don't know if he was licensed or not - can't remember.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:20 PM   #6
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Please edit your profile so it shows your location!
Sorry about that - I'm in Canada

Last edited by helium44; 06-12-2013 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:27 PM   #7
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Gutter de-icing cable not working


sublime2 - "Very unlikely that angle iron has voltage running through it."

Okay, I removed it, and you were right, there was no current running through the angle iron. Not only was the wire looped around, it was stuck down with black sealant/glue. I'm going to examine the components now to see if I can tell what went wrong.

Last edited by helium44; 06-12-2013 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:39 PM   #8
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Gutter de-icing cable not working


It's a WRAP-ON Roof and Gutter De-Icing Cable - Model# 14080 @ 400 Watts

https://wrap-on.com/products/rgdic.html

He was not a licensed electrician. I guess he's a contractor with a certain amount of knowledge; he did the electrical work himself. His company does all types of work (electrical, plumbing, basement weatherproofing, weeping tiles, etc).

According to the manufacturer's instructions he installed it completely wrong:

"CAUTION: Do not allow cable to overlap or crisscross.

Carefully recheck the installation to be sure all clips are fastened securely and that the cable has not come in contact with itself at any point, especially in the downspout."

The cable is supposed to be fished inside the downspout, not coiled around it.

As an added bonus, he reversed the light switch in our garage so up is OFF and down is ON. The GFCI receptacle was installed to code, though (don't want to think about what would've happened had he not!)
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:41 PM   #9
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:06 PM   #10
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Gutter de-icing cable not working


Quote:
Originally Posted by helium44 View Post
It's a WRAP-ON Roof and Gutter De-Icing Cable - Model# 14080 @ 400 Watts

https://wrap-on.com/products/rgdic.html

He was not a licensed electrician. I guess he's a contractor with a certain amount of knowledge; he did the electrical work himself. His company does all types of work (electrical, plumbing, basement weatherproofing, weeping tiles, etc).

I can tell it was not done properly. IMO I never like that style of roof heating cable I do buy self regulated roof heat tape which it work better than a single thermosat controled roof heat tape.

According to the manufacturer's instructions he installed it completely wrong:

"CAUTION: Do not allow cable to overlap or crisscross.

Carefully recheck the installation to be sure all clips are fastened securely and that the cable has not come in contact with itself at any point, especially in the downspout."

As long you use the spacer as the package provided then use that.

The cable is supposed to be fished inside the downspout, not coiled around it.

Oui., Always inside they are good for huge ice dam so make sure you string it inside the drain gutter.

As an added bonus, he reversed the light switch in our garage so up is OFF and down is ON. The GFCI receptacle was installed to code, though (don't want to think about what would've happened had he not!)

My answer in Bleu now why he have to reversed the switch postion is that for roof heating cable or what??

As far for the GFCI ya are legit on that. It is common to do that.

If the GFCI do not trip right now. there is a way to test depending on which way you can do is either squezze the " bulb " which the thermosat is located otherwise get a sandwich bag and fill it up with ice and wrap it around and wait few minites it will come on and if GFCI do hold then you are ok but if the GFCI trip then you have issue with the heating cable either interal damage or exteral damage so you will have to take a closer look to see any nicks or anything is bented out of the shape.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
My answer in Bleu now why he have to reversed the switch postion is that for roof heating cable or what??

As far for the GFCI ya are legit on that. It is common to do that.

If the GFCI do not trip right now. there is a way to test depending on which way you can do is either squezze the " bulb " which the thermosat is located otherwise get a sandwich bag and fill it up with ice and wrap it around and wait few minites it will come on and if GFCI do hold then you are ok but if the GFCI trip then you have issue with the heating cable either interal damage or exteral damage so you will have to take a closer look to see any nicks or anything is bented out of the shape.

Merci,
Marc
The switch is just for a light bulb in the garage, but it's on the same breaker.

I won't even bother testing the heating cable because it was coiled and wrapped around itself so many times inside the eavestrough and around the downspout. There's no way it would've survived - I'm surprised it lasted for a year!

Thanks for your answer - I always like to hear the opinion of licensed electricians.

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