What is Trace Heating?

What is Trace Heating?

What is Trace heating?
Trace heating cables are clever electric heating elements designed to provide focused and controllable heat. These heating cables can be used to prevent pipes, outdoor taps and gutters from freezing, or to maintain a desired temperature on pipes to keep liquids moving, or for use with vessels which require temperature maintenance. The cables are constructed from thermoplastic layers containing a self-regulating heating element and two adjacent bus wires.

How does Trace heating work?
Trace heating cables are significantly more intelligent than standard heating cables. They are created by placing a semi conductive self-regulating heating matrix around two bus wires, one live and one neutral. When power is connected to these bus wires the matrix receives either 110V or 230V, causing it to heat up. Each matrix contains specialist compounds that change their resistance depending on their temperature, which leads to the power output of the heating element falling as the cable gets warmer. This means that the cables can cross each other with no risk of overheating.

How is Trace heating installed?
Trace heating is easy-to-install and can be attached to pipework, tanks or vessels using cable ties, aluminium or glass fibre tape or a suitable adhesive prior to covering with lagging or insulation. The heating elements can be cut to any length allowing them to be manipulated to allow for any changes made onsite and therefore minimising delays. Although the heating cables will alter their power output all trace heating applications should be temperature controlled using a suitable thermostat. Heatmat are able to supply a full range of controls which can monitor temperature alone or temperature and moisture, ensuring that the cable system remains both energy efficient and will only switch the heating system on when there is a genuine risk of freezing conditions. We recommend that the final connection of the heating system is carried out by a suitably qualified electrical installer.

Is Trace heating expensive to run?
Trace heating is an energy efficient solution for ice and snow melting becasue the cables only focus output to the part of the pipe or vessel where it is most required, used in conjunction with suitable insulation and sophisticated Heat Mat Trace heating thermostats, energy usage can be kept to a minimum.

What applications can Trace heating be used for?
Trace heating has a variety of domestic and commercial uses including:

  • Pipe protection for preserving gas, water or oil supplies in extreme weather conditions
  • Sustaining process temperatures for food production
  • Hot water temperature maintenance

Heat Mat has specified Trace heating for a range of applications including a hospital maternity wing to maintain water pipe temperature, a commercial bakery, a Southern Rail depot where trains are cleaned via water jets and gutter protection for various stately homes.

Find out more about Trace heating or call us to discuss your project on 01444 247020.