I live in a townhome development with a flat modified bitumen roof (in the Chicago area). The condo association is considering whether to install heating cables in the downspouts and gutters to prevent ice dams. I have read contrasting info on the efficacy of the cables on various websites though everything I read was regarding sloped roofs with shingles. Can any of you share your opinion or link to a website that discusses the use of heating cables on flat roofs?
Also, I have pics of my roof below. Unfortunately, mine is the one at the lower elevation, which I fear is a disaster waiting to happen. In the last ice and snow storm [pictured below], my neighbor’s roof at the higher elevation was almost clear of any snow and ice, while mine was covered in snow and ice, especially at the downspout and the junction between our roofs. From what I understand about ice dams on sloped roofs, water can infiltrate an intact roof b/c it can get under the shingles. How would this work on a flat roof? Can water get underneath the membrane if it is intact? In regard to the area where my roof meets my neighbor’s, is there anything I need to do, keep my eye on, or worry about, in particular?
I appreciate any advice you may have. Thank you