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Constant wattage heat cable is sold in big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes and on online retailers such as Amazon. They are surprisingly 'affordable', at least on face value. For example, a 100' ice dam heat cable kit from Frost King and EasyHeat will cost around $59-72 if purchased through one of our multi-billion dollar mega competitors. In the photo above you can see a 100' Frost King heat cable (left side). It weighs about 3.1 pounds and will last an average of one to two years. A coil of quality self-regulating heat cable, on the other hand, with tip the scales at over 10 pounds (right side, above photo). Holding the two side by side makes the difference quite obvious. In addition to the plain difference in quality, the other bummer about constant wattage heat cable is that it uses a ton of electricity during operation. The term constant wattage is used because this family of heat cable operates a lot like a light bulb. It is either totally on or off. Self-regulating ice dam heat cable is a totally different animal in that it 'asks' only for the energy it needs to do its' job. We get into the geeky, technical details of how this process works in a different area of our website, but suffice it to say that self-regulating heat cables are smart about how they use electricity.
Although self-regulating ice dam prevention cables are a far better investment, some situations call for the cheap stuff. For example, if you only need to manage your ice dam issues for a year or two, buy the cheap stuff (i.e., Constant Wattage) (Link to constant wattage heat cable page). Let's face it, sometimes we have really limited budgets. We can't afford to drop hundreds on ice dam heat cable. We need a cheap solution for a short time period. This is a perfect time to buy constant wattage cable. If your goals include needing a solution for more than a couple years that is energy efficient, that can be installed with a low risk of failure, that won't get damaged easily, et cetera, you should buy our self-regulating cable.