If you run your own business or are involved in the management or planning of any type of industrial organisation, you may well have heard about trace heating, but be unsure of its exact benefits and suitable applications. So what is trace heating, and what can it be used for?
Trace heating is, in essence, a method of maintaining or controlling the temperature in a localised area, most commonly where pipes are involved. A trace heating cable is laid parallel to the pipe(s), and often further insulated to prevent heat loss. The trace heating cable contains an electrical heating element that can generate the heat needed to maintain a specific temperature, and a thermostat that is used to regulate it.
Versatile and easy to install
Despite its simplicity, trace heating is surprisingly versatile, and can be used for a wide array of functions and applications, including:
• Frost/ freeze protection for pipes – Trace heating is particularly popular with businesses and industry as a way of preventing internal and external pipes from freezing during the winter months. A trace heating cable, running parallel to the pipe, can be set to provide heat to the pipe when the temperature drops to a certain level, thus preventing it from freezing. Because the cable only heats up when needed, this is an effective and energy efficient solution for frost protection.
• De-icing – Equally, trace heating can be used to keep areas such as roofs and gutters to antennas and satellite dishes free of snow and ice that might otherwise impede their normal functioning.
• Supplying hot water – Trace heating cables can be used in domestic, commercial and industrial settings to regulate the supply of hot water.
• Maintaining temperature of fluids – In addition to heating water, trace heating is indispensable in keeping the temperature constant for a variety of fluids used in industrial applications. This is particularly useful in the case of fluids that need to be maintained at a certain temperature to maintain their level of viscosity. This application can be applied to both hazardous and non-hazardous liquids safely and effectively.
• Providing electric underfloor heating – Finally, it can be used to provide efficient and cost-effective electric underfloor heating inside buildings, as well as in outdoor public spaces.