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We had several unusually heavy snowfalls in Western Pennsylvania this past winter ('09 to '10) and my home had quite a bit of interior water damage due to ice dams forming on our roof. We had old heat cables in place but some failed and the others did not provide adequate heat or were not in the proper places (we have sky lights that were not properly protected). I researched new heat cables on the internet, at Lowes and Home Depot, and at some local electrical supply stores. The Easy Heat products seemed to be very cost effective, but what really helped to sell me was the fact that their installation manuals for all of their products were on line and seemed to be very thorough yet easy to use. I decided to use their manuals for planning my project regardless of what product I was going with.

I ultimately decided to go with the Easy Heat cables, but was unsure how I wanted to control them. We travel quite a bit during the winter, and I wanted a controller that would protect our house but that would not waste energy on the cables when they are not needed. There were a variety of thermal only controllers out there, but the Easy Heat RS-2 requires both the proper temperature AND the presence of moisture before it will energize the cables. If it worked, it seemed to me that I could turn it on and forget it for much of the winter and feel confident that the house would be protected.

I decided to try an all-Easy Heat solution. I redesigned my cable runs to reduce the number down to just two cables to save money. This is because each RS-2 can handle up to 1200 watts, but they only want one cable plugged into each RS-2. I ordered the cables and two RS-2's through Amazon and everything arrived well ahead of promise. I tested the cables before installation and was pleased at the amount of heat they gave off in a very short period of time. I tested both RS-2's in buckets of ice water and they worked as advertised.

My old installation had been done about 25 years ago by the previous homeowner and there was no documentation. It was strung through my attic and used old thin two wire "zip cord" instead of adequate wiring and wires went off in all directions. (We were lucky we never had a fire as I found that one of the roof cables had shorted out against the gutter drain pipe). The cables were "hard wired" to the (ungrounded) circuit whereas the Easy Heat Products are set up to use standard 110V grounded plugs. I decided to be safe and ordered a GFI circuit breaker from Grady's through Amazon so that the entire circuit would be protected regardless of how it had been wired. The toughest part of my installation was when I fished new romex (with ground wire) through the old holes in the attic walls and then mounted new water resistant plug receptacles under the eaves outside of the house. I also mounted the two RS-2 control boxes beside the new receptacles in a place where I could see the indicator lights (to determine both if the controller had power and if it was powering the cables) without crawling out on the roof. I also removed all of the old zip cord that I could find and installed a switch for the cables inside the house (not in the attic).

Once I had the new 110V plugs in place, installing the Easy-Heat cables was, well, very easy. The clips that came with the cables worked far better than the originals from my old installation and damaged the shingles far less. I had plenty of extra clips once I was finished. The only problem I had was fishing some of the cable down my drain pipes as I could not get the rusty screws from the pipes off to pull the cables in from beneath. (I should have just drilled out the screws in the first place). My cables were just barely long enough even though I used the planning guide and then added a 10% safety factor on top of that. I think it was in part because of how in my particular situation, I wired the required cable sections near the RS-2 controller and used more cable than I planned. I would suggest that when you order your cables, if your circuit can stand the extra wattage, you consider ordering the next cable size up to allow a bit more comfort in the installation.

Now that I have power out to the roof and controllers and cables that plug in as easily as an extension cord, I can easily upgrade or change the installation. I plan on re-shingling the roof in two or three years, and this cable installation will remove quickly and can be put back into place quickly during that job. The total cost for everything including what I bought at Lowes (Romex, outdoor boxes, receptacles, wood screws, etc) was just over $400 which is much less that what I had been quoted to have a professional do it. I spent about 16 hours researching and planning (ok, I AM an engineer), about 3 hours in the attic undoing and redoing wiring, and about 5 hours on the roof (again undoing and then redoing). So far I am very happy with the product and installation and I am looking forward to seeing how well they work this coming winter.
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on November 22, 2010
I have used eight RS2 units for two years. After lots of trial and error and some modification, they do the job. I live in an area which receives an average of 11 to 12 feet of snow each winter. Compared to using heat tape with out the RS2 controllers, they significantly reduce my electric bill while improving the prevention of ice dams. I did have to splice about 25 feet of wire on the four of them to move the water sensor from the rake of the roof, where my outlets are located, to the valleys, where the most water comes down. I also had to lace lots of heat tape at the bottom of the valleys to keep big domes of ice from overwhelming the tape.

So the RS2 units work, BUT... one failed and was replaced under warranty. Now two more have failed after two years of service. There goes some of the savings in electric bills to replace those two and a lot of labor in winter conditions to remove and reinstall two units. Bummer!

PART 2: With a little disassembly and detective work I isolated the control unit, thermostat and water sensor components. Tests then showed that both units had failed with what is likely the most inexpensive component--the thermostat. I have now removed those electrically so that now I have two working control units with water sensors only. A couple of $12 Farm Innovators TC-3 units and my two failed units will be back in service for $58 each less than new RS2 units.
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on December 13, 2010
We don't yet know if the controller will work as hoped, because we chose a poor place to install it and will have to move it. So this review is to warn others about the location.

We installed the sensor on the west side of the house. We should have put it on the east side, facing the rising sun. But now, we get some melting on the east side, dripping, icicles, and the start of ice dams -- because the west side has not yet seen the sun and is not melting, so the sensor mounted on the west side does not turn on any of the cables.

We installed the sensor over an unheated attic-type space. We should have put it where heat leakage from the house would be as high as it gets. Again, other locations start to have problems before this location begins to melt.

The manufacturer should have made these suggestions, since most of us customers are just seeing a controller for the first time. Of course, it is also possible that the sensor is just not working properly.

Also, we have four cables to control: upper and lower roof edges, front and back. This greatly exceeds the capacity of the controller, but we did not want to pay for four installations and four controllers. So the electrician installed it with a four-pole contactor. The controller turns on the contactor circuit, which turns on the four cables. This setup looked good in our tests after it was installed, but we don't yet know what it will be like in practice, because we had to bypass it to manually turn on the cables because we had installed the sensor in the wrong location.

An alternative would be to install four sensors/controllers right where you want them. In our case, running the wiring for that would be costly. And some cable ends were not very accessible because the cable went down a gutter drain pipe.

We were determined to do something, because last winter we left the cables on most of the time. Our electricity bills were as high as $600 per month more than usual. So even after the re-install, it should pay for itself in the first season.
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on January 12, 2009
A neighbor who had cables helped me put this up, so it did not take too much effort, but you might want to be prepared for some trial and error to get the placement right. It is worth the effort!
We are into winter and I have my cables on the problem spot on my roof. They seem to do just enough to prevent ice buildup with the automatic sensor so they are not on all the time, just when the conditions are right.
Thanks to Amazon for having this at an affordable price!
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on December 10, 2014
These are installed and working fine. Could do with a little better guidance on where the sensor wire should be installed as it took me two attempts to get it right on one of these.

Nonetheless they are both installed and functioning as expected.

Would have liked longer power cord so it would make it down to my outlets without a second power cord. It would have also been nice if the power cord was removable from the body of the device so that I could unplug it in the summer and not have a cord dangling down.
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on September 7, 2012
The last thing I needed was more sheets of ice forming on my driveway in front of my garage. I have a steep roof over the garage and frequently ice would form in the gutters and slowly drip, on "slightly warm" days, and freeze overnight. I would go through a massive amount of salt to pour on my driveway every evening or morning. Not from the new snow, but from what was melting from my the roof. So, I bought the Easy Heat ADKS-500 100-Foot Roof De-Icing Cable. At the same time, I bought the RS-2 Automatic De-Icing cable control. I installed the unit just under the eave of the roof, so I can see if the pilot light is on (meaning it's powering the heating cable) or not, and to keep it away from the harm of precipitation.

The advantage is that you're not constantly powering the cable (and heating the roof), 24 hours a day. Sure, you could set up a timer, but who wants it to turn on when there's no worry of an ice dam or snow on the roof on a warm (or very cold) day?

It's been in use for one full winter and I can confirm that it works great. It turns on when an ice dam would have the potential of forming. It detects if they're moisture *AND* if the outside temp is just above freezing, where the snow would melt a little on its own, but not enough.

Since having this unit, it only kicks on when it's needed and shuts off when it's either too cold, too warm, or no snow (thus no moisture) on the roof. Saves me money from not constantly powering the De-Icing cable.

People on here complain about the price for something as simple as its inside components. In the long run, this saves you money from your power bill.
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on January 23, 2015
I was a little leery, but so far it works as billed.
The start-up test cycle directions were a little vague, I thought.
I unplugged it after I soaking end of sensor to turn it on. But started working after that,
with the relatively light winter we've had so far in CT.

UPDATE: One problem I have encountered may be snow being too dry to set off the moisture sensor. Very cold temp. I bypassed the controller to start the heater, and the controller finally activated. So you may want to over ride in very dry snow.
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on November 14, 2013
Works great and saves lots of money on the electric bill. Easy to install. New improved sensor wire seems to route through the gutter easier and is more flexible. Have used these for years. The last one lasted 10 years.
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on March 23, 2015
The control for the de-icing cable did not last 2 months. The ice built up on the roof and we were not aware of it not working. This is a waste of money to purchase this control. It is past 30 days and I cannot return or replace the item. This is not worth a one star rating that I have to use to complete my unhappy experience with Easy Heat RS-2 controller.
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on December 26, 2014
I have three of these operating for the past 3 years on my south-facing gutters in the North Country of NY...just south of Lake Champlain. They work GREAT...never a problem! (I only need cables in the gutters due to the design of the house and an architectural slate roof.) I unplug and bundle the power cords in the Spring and plug them in at the end of October. I watch the precip and temp and then check the RS-2 pilot lights...always right on time! I just purchased two more for new sections of gutter I'm heating. I highly recommend this product!
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