Installing Heat Tape on Downspouts
When planning your heat Tape configuration and measuring for installation, there are a few considerations you need to make.
Make Note of Number of Downspouts & Height/Length of Downspouts
To calculate how much additional heat tape you’ll need for your configuration that includes downspouts, you need to make note of how many downspouts you will need to cover and how high they are. Standard residential floor heights are relatively consistent, and we build in a little bit of padding when we calculate a single floor to use 15ft of heat tape, with each additional floor after that to use 10 more feet. So a single story downspout is calculated as 15 feet of heat tape , a 2-story is calculated as 25 feet of heat tape and a 3 story is calculated as 35 feet of heat tape. These numbers are multiplied by the quantity of downspouts to arrive at the amount of heat tape you’ll need to cover your downspouts.
Is the outlet you’ll be plugging into at the base of the downspout?
Knowing where you’ll be plugging in your heat tape is a key step in planning your heat tape configuration and installation. Since using extension cords are not recommended, often times the installation of a new GFI outlet is the best option –contract your local electrician for help on this. Sometimes homes have outlets pre-installed in convenient spots, like near the base of a downspout or under the eave. If the outlet is at the base of the downspout you can terminate your heat tape installation by coming out the downspout and plugging in your cable. However, if your outlet is under the eave or in another location away from the bottom of the downspout, you may need to run your heat tape down the downspout, then back up it, to continue the heat tape installation.
Do Your Downspouts Go Straight Down?
The standard and most common configuration of downspouts is to return to the wall of the home after coming from the gutter, then go straight down the wall. Some downspouts have unique configurations that will require additional considerations then the allotted length per story of your home. If your downspout travels differently then a standard return-and-down set up, we recommend you measure the travel length of the whole downspout from gutter to ground with a string or rope to get the length then enter that amount in the “Special Situations” field on our heat tape calculator.
Use Downspout Hangers
Whenever you transition across a junction of the gutter sheet metal or the end of a gutter, we highly recommend using a Downspout Hanger to protect your cable and to secure it into position.