Frequently Asked Questions

What is Trace Heating?

Trace heating is the process of maintaining or controlling temperature in pipes or tanks. It can be used for frost protection, HWS temperature maintenance or process control for continuous usage. By using electrical heating cables running the lengths of the pipes, covered with thermal insulation, trace heating offers an energy efficient solution to protect pipes from freezing, maintain a constant flow in hot water systems and keeping substances flowing that might otherwise solidify at ambient temperatures.

Why Do I Need Trace Heating?

Trace heating is used for a number of applications, such as:

  • To provide frost protection, prevent pipes from freezing, melting ice in gutters and to maintain liquid ponds.
  • To maintain a constant flow temperature for hot water when the system is static. This ensures Legionella  cannot form and provides immediate hot water from the outlet.
  • To maintain process temperatures in piping to prevent fluids from solidifying and ensuring continued production.
  • To provide a perfect solution to managing the temperature of your plants and seedlings over the winter months.

Can Trace Heating be Used on Plastic Pipes?

Yes, but ensure aluminium foil tape is placed over the top of the cable and on to the pipe to help with heat dispersal.

Trace Cable Questions

What is Self Regulating Cable?

Self-regulating cable delivers the right amount of heat exactly where and when it’s needed. As the temperature drops more heat is produced, conversely as the temperature rises less heat is produced.

If the temperature in the immediate vicinity of the self-regulating cable is cold, the heat output from the self-regulating cable is increased. The polymeric core of the cable contracts which creates many electrical paths across the integrated carbon particles.

In response to a warmer environment the heat output is reduced. The polymeric core expands reducing the electrical paths.

Self regulating cable is suitable for metallic and plastic pipes and tanks and is suitable for most applications in both safe and hazardous areas.

Self-regulating trace heaters cannot overheat and burn out, they are flexible and can satisfactorily be used for any Gate Valves or wrapping around flanges which need protection.

What is Constant Wattage Tape?

Constant wattage cable delivers a continuous power output regardless of pipe or ambient temperatures. It offers flexibility and a cost effective solution to either frost protection or temperature maintenance applications. Unlike self-regulating cable, there is no in rush of current and they require a monitoring via a temperature controller.

Constant wattage tapes are more likely to have a shorter service life than self-regulating cables.

Installation Questions

Does the Cable Need to be Spiralled or Straight Line When Installing?

When using our cable we would ordinarily recommend this would be straight traced. This requires less cable than if spiralling, reducing costs and providing ease of installing. However, in some applications it may be required to spiral and our cables are suitable for both methods.

How Do I Terminate the Cable?

We supply hot and cold systems for this purpose and provide instructions with our kits.

How do I Fit Trace Heating on a Pipe?

Trace heating cable is attached to the pipe at either 5 0’clock or 7 o’clock using a fixing tape (MJA Heat Trace Products can supply this). Please see our guide for further information.

Do I Need to Use Thermal Insulation?

Yes. Due to the nature of trace heating, thermal insulation is an integral part of the system.

Do I Need a Thermostat?

Yes. We would recommend the use of a temperature controller to monitor and maintain optimum temperatures whilst enabling greater energy saving benefits.