Insulation, Ventilation & Airflow

Heat Trace oTTAWA

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Heat Trace Professionals Ottawa

Every climate comes with its own challenges. In Canada, ice and snow are part of our long winter season that brings its own challenges for homeowners. One such challenge comes in the form of ice damming and icicles that can form along your roof. While the underlying issue for the build-up of these formations may be different for every roof, a common solution to them is heat trace cable systems.

At Kovar Contracting, we only use the highest quality Paladin ® Heat Trace cable systems in Ottawa by Heat-Line ® . Their cables are thermostatically controlled, so the cable only turns on when it needs to. All installs done by the experts at Kovar Contracting are warranted by the manufacturer for product defects for 5 years and the warranty can be upgraded to 10 years with the manufacturer.  

Heat Trace Cable Installation Ottawa

2 Ways to Resolve Ice Damming in Ottawa

When homes suffer from ice damming and icicles in Ottawa, the cause is usually one of two things. Either your home is suffering from heat loss in the attic space, or the problem stems from a lack of ventilation in that attic space.

When you lose heat from your home into your attic space, it causes the snow on the roof to melt, which then refreezes at the soffit overhangs. This compounds over the winter months and eventually causes ice damming and icicles. Both ice damming and icicles in turn, can not only present dangers to you and your family – especially once the weather gets warmer and the ice thaws causing those (potentially heavy) icicles to fall. Ice damming can also cause major leak issues in the home since shingled roofs are water-shedding systems and not waterproof. 

So, what is the solution? How can you prevent ice damming and icicles from building up on your roof? You can essentially do two things to fix this issue:

  1. Add insulation to the attic to limit the amount of heat that is lost from the home into the attic space. Click here for a free quote for attic insulation upgrades.
  2. Add ventilation, either in the form of adding an exhaust vent at the top of the roof to allow heat to escape. Click here for more info on attic exhaust ventilation. (reroute to ventilation page)


Or by ensuring proper airflow into the attic from the soffits. This is sometimes the hardest to do, depending on the construction of the home. Call us for more info on soffit inflow ventilation.

However, we often see that achieving insulation and ventilation in specific roof layouts and designs is either too costly or downright impossible. This is where installing heat trace cables is the best option.

What Are Heat Trace Cables And How Do They Work?

The first question you may ask is how a heat trace system, or heating wires, works. The answer to that is pretty simple. A heat wire is set along the area that requires heating. This may be along an exposed pipe that is in danger of freezing or, in the case of preventing ice damming and icicles, along the roof eaves.

The heat wire is attached to a source of energy and does exactly what the name indicates: it generates heat. That heat then transmits to the surface that requires heating – like the pipe or eave of the roof.

Finally, the temperature is thermostatically controlled microscopically along the heat-line so that the temperature of the heating wires can be adjusted depending on the situation and the heat will be applied where it is needed to reach melting temperatures.

How Long Do Heat Trace Cables Last?

As with any electrical system, heat trace cables have a certain shelf life that depends on usage and maintenance. Most heat tracing cable systems will last around 3-5 years until their performance starts to decline.

Of course, there are also certain ways to prolong the peak performance timespan of your heat tracing cable system. One way is correct installation so that you don’t lose heat around flanges, valves, or other items. At Kovar Contracting, we offer a 1-year workmanship warranty on all our heat trace cables.

The second is proper usage. When your heating cables are thermostatically controlled, make sure that they are not running unless they have to – and that they run at the proper temperature (for example, don’t let them run unless there is actually snow that needs to melt).

Optionally, Kovar will install a Duty-Cycle Timer® to ensure that the cable does not run at all times. Ex: If the temperatures outside are -10 Celsius and there is no snow or ice on the roof, the cables will be running for nothing. You can either unplug the cable or simply interrupt the power supply with a Duty-cycle Timer® .

If you have any questions or want to get more information on how to properly maintain your heating cables and expand their lifespan, don’t hesitate to ask your experts at Kovar Contracting. Our trained and experienced staff will always be happy and willing to help you get the most out of your heating wires.

Benefits and Disadvantages Of Heating Cables

As with all solutions in your home, heating cables come with an array of benefits and disadvantages. Make sure to be aware of those before you have a heat tracing cable installed in your home, and also make sure to weigh alternative options before settling on one.

As mentioned before, heating cables are a great solution when improving the ventilation or when adding insulation is not a viable solution to your ice damming problems. Installation is quick and effective. However, installing a heat tracing cable also has its downsides. For one thing, it will increase your electricity bill in the winter (although the amount will depend on the severity of the winter) so make sure to ask us about a Duty Cycle timer for your cable.

Secondly, installing a heat tracing cable is not the most elegant solution and depending on the area that needs it, may be an “eyesore”. Finally, the cables have a certain shelf life (usually 3-5 years at peak performance). It does not fix the underlying issue of poor ventilation and insulation, and treating it as a long-term solution may end up costing you more money over an extended period.

For more information on heating cables and their use, or if you have any questions, make sure to contact our experts at Kovar Contracting directly.

Quality Workmanship Guaranteed

roof ventilation ottawa

Kovar Contracting guarantees hassle-free, turnkey services with quality workmanship warranties to provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that the job has been done right. This is why we are trusted and commended by homeowners in Ottawa since 2008. In fact, we are so confident in our work that we don’t even ask for any upfront payments.

But the craftsmanship is only part of our secret. Another other part is that we work with high-quality components from Canada’s leading manufacturers. The combination of quality components and proper workmanship is the key to our success.

Part three of our success formula is our amicable workforce. We understand that we provide a service to you and that you are inviting us into your home. You are the boss in your own home at all times. If you have any special requests for us, please let us know. We can assure you that we will treat your property and neighbours with the utmost respect and that we will not infringe on your privacy.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that, as certified professionals with ample experience, we take responsibility and cover all our bases – just in case. That is why all our workers are covered by WSIB (Work Safety and Insurance Board) coverage, and we have liability insurance coverage of $5,000,000.

If you have any questions about our coverage or want to see proof of it, please do not hesitate to ask us! We will gladly provide you with any information you require so that you can feel at ease, knowing that you work with certified and trusted professionals.

Get your free estimate today!

Do you have any questions about heat wire systems? Do you have any questions about our working process or quality assurance? Perhaps you even want to book your consultation or just jump ahead and inquire about pricing and availability with regard to installing your heat trace cables. No problem! Simply give us a call at (613)799-1704, and one of our friendly staff members will gladly help you.