In frigid climates, where water pipes and hoses are frequently subjected to freezing temperatures, the use of heat tape can be a literal lifesaver. When water inside of pipes freezes and expands, it can cause the pipes to burst, which might result in the release of hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water into your home.
It is crucial to insulate your pipes because doing so will prevent the pipes from freezing in many different scenarios. However, it is not always enough when there are extended periods of below-freezing temperatures or when the temperature drops into the sub-zero range. In this situation, the use of heat tape, which can either be self-regulating or regulated by a thermostat, might be helpful in providing supplementary warmth as required.
Table of Contents:
- Heat Tape with Self-Regulating Properties
- Heat Tape Controlled With a Thermostat
- Heated Water Hoses
- How to Install Heat Tape
- Tips for Buying Heat Tape
- FAQ’s Pertaining to Heat Tape
Heat Tape with Self-Regulating Properties
This type of heat tape can be cut to any length for a bespoke fit, or it can be ordered as a kit with a choice of lengths included. Both options are available at your disposal. The cable is designed to automatically adjust the amount of heat it emits in response to variations in the temperature of its surroundings. When temperature rises above freezing, it gives out almost no heat, but as the temperature drops, it begins to produce a greater amount of heat. There is no need for manual management of the temperature.
In a lot of hardware and home improvement stores, you can buy heat tape with self-regulating properties by the roll, and in some of those stores, you can even buy it by the foot. A connection kit that includes an end plug is required in addition to the cable, and you will also need an outlet that is easily reachable so that the cable can be plugged in. When you purchase heat tape with self-regulating properties at a particular length as a kit, the plug is typically already attached to the end of the tape.
Heat Tape Controlled With a Thermostat
Another variation is available, and while it functions in a manner that is quite comparable to that of the self-regulating variety, it requires the use of a separate thermostat. Therefore, a separate connection kit that includes a thermostat is required in order to regulate the temperature.
It too can be bought by the foot or on a roll, depending on your preference. Because it can be cut to any size, it can be customized to perfectly match the requirements of your application. Plugs are then attached to the ends of the cable to complete the customization. Heat tape that is regulated by a thermostat can also be purchased in kit form in a variety of lengths with the thermostat and plug already attached to the kit.
Heated Water Hoses
A heated water hose is a product that is analogous in its functionality. Homeowners who live in locations with limited frosty spells but who still require irrigation throughout the winter can find it handy, and so can farmers who need to fill the drinking tanks of their cattle during the colder months.
The interior walls of a heated hose are constructed with electrical conducting wires that are embedded into the rubber or vinyl. Heated hoses are available in a variety of lengths. When these hoses are connected, an electrical current travels through the hose, warming it all the way up to its conclusion. In order to conserve electricity and avoid getting too hot, these hoses are equipped with an automatic shutoff feature.
How to Install Heat Tape
You can self-install, but if you prefer, you can also pay a professional to do it for you. If the task at hand is extensive or the area in question has a number of areas with unusual angles, you should probably think about bringing in an expert.
If you are going to do it yourself, make sure to read the directions well and adhere to them exactly. There are many different kinds of heat tape, and the majority of them simply adhere to the interior of the pipe using electrical tape or zip ties. Other varieties are intended to be wound in a spiral way around the pipe when they are installed. In addition, some of them can be put in either direction. Under no circumstances should you overlap the tape unless the manufacturer specifically instructs you to do so.
After installation, covering with pipe insulation might make it more effective at its intended purpose. However, you should only do so if the manufacturer advises you to.1 Insulation should be done with a substance that is not flammable and fiberglass is a good example of such a material. However, it is imperative that you adhere to the instructions made by the manufacturer regarding the type of insulation that should be used.
The thermostat is yet another component of the setup that is really significant. In order to get an accurate reading, it needs to be placed in the location that is the coldest and immediately on the water pipe itself.
Tips for Buying Heat Tape
The following are some considerations to bear in mind while you search for the ideal heat tape for your project:
If this is your first time, you should give some thought to purchasing a kit as opposed to buying raw cable to which plugs will need to be attached in order to complete the installation. The kits are normally available in any length you could possibly require, ranging anywhere from 3 to 100 feet in length. In addition, the plugs have been pre-attached to guarantee a successful connection.
Have a look at the technical requirements: When choosing a heat tape, it is important to read the package thoroughly to ensure that the tape is suitable for the task at hand. It is vital to verify this information before making a purchase because the majority are suitable for use with either plastic or metal water lines. In addition to this, check to see that the device has the features you require, such as a power indicator light or a thermostat that is pre-installed.
Before you go out and buy anything, make sure to measure the circumference and length of your pipes. This will ensure that you have sufficient tape to do the work. Also, keep in mind that the length of the tape will need to be significantly longer than the pipe itself if you intend to spirally wrap the tape around the pipe. This is because the spiral wrapping technique requires the tape to be much longer than the pipe.
FAQ’s Pertaining to Heat Tape
Will the use of heat tape prevent pipes from freezing?
There is no way that can guarantee that pipes will remain warm, however heat tape works quite effectively to prevent pipes from freezing and breaking. The heat tape will begin to warm up in order to prevent the water in the pipes from freezing as the temperature continues to decrease.
How long may heat tape be used on pipes?
In most cases, the lifespan of heat tape is no more than a few years. After then, there is a possibility that it will lose some of its dependability, particularly if it does not have a lot of protection from the elements. Check the user manual for your device to see if it makes any recommendations regarding when the heat tape should be replaced.
Will heat tape help to defrost frozen pipes?
Even though frozen pipes will frequently thaw on their own, increasing the likelihood of a burst pipe by letting frozen water remain in the pipes increases the risk of a pipe rupture. In order to expedite the thawing process and get the water flowing again, heat tape can be placed.