Heat cable, otherwise known as heat trace cable, is a cable that is heated up when electricity runs through it. Heat cable is designed to counteract the effects of cold weather. This system of cables is used to maintain or increase the temperature of the area in which it is applied.
Heat cable is commonly used on rooftops, gutters or in pipes. But, many people may not realize that there are other places where heat cable can be applied and be quite effective. You might be surprised by the following list of seven possible heat cable applications.
1. Roof Applications
The roofs and gutters on buildings in areas that experience cold winters with snow and ice can be at risk for snow buildup and ice dams. Snow buildup and ice dams can lead to a myriad of problems and dangers. Heat cable can help to minimize the effects of snow and ice.
● Roof- On the roof itself, a heat cable system can be installed on the eaves and valleys to help prevent ice dam formations, which will, in turn, allow meltwater to make its way to the gutters instead of into your home.
● Gutters- As part of a heat cable system on your roof, heat cable should also be installed in the gutters. If the gutters are too cold and allow any incoming water to freeze, no other water will be able to get through. This will cause the water to back up, causing leaks and other problems.
Having a heat cable system installed in your gutters will keep the gutters free of ice and snow buildup, allowing the proper drainage for meltwater runoff.
● Heated Roof Panels– In areas with colder than average temperatures or an abundance of snowfall, heated roof panels may be the most effective roof heating system. Heat cable alone may not be enough for these substantially cold, snowy areas.
Heated roof panels still use heat cable but in a different capacity. Heated roof panels are made of metal and have heat cable channeled through them. These use less heat cable and heat a larger roof area than standard heat cable. But, they are also more expensive.
2. Pipes and Plumbing
● Pipe Freeze Protection
If water is allowed to freeze in your pipes, it can lead to a potential catastrophe. As water freezes, it expands, which can rupture the pipes. If your pipes rupture, they could release hundreds, even thousands, of gallons of water into your home.
Because of this, insulation is necessary on pipes contained within any unheated exterior wall, garages, basements, etc., to help keep pipes from freezing.
But, sometimes, insulation alone is not sufficient. This is where heating cables for pipes come in. Heat cable provides any additional warmth when needed.
● Industrial Plumbing Systems
Although preventing freezing situations is the primary use for heat cable, it can also be used to maintain heat. In instances where water or other fluid may need to be kept above a specific temperature, heat cable may be useful.
Flowing through the pipes of some industrial plumbing systems is fluid that may freeze at ambient temperatures. A heat cable system may be installed to prevent this fluid from freezing.
3. Greenhouse and Soil Temperature Maintenance
Some nurseries or individuals wish to garden all year round. But how is that possible in the cold winter months? A heat cable system is one solution.
● Greenhouse- Keeping the air at a specific temperature in a greenhouse is vital. So, in the winter months or on cold nights, it may be helpful to have a heat cable system in place. A heat cable system can also help prevent greenhouse windows from fogging up.
● Soil Temperature- Gardening in the winter may seem impossible for people without a greenhouse. But, heat cable, along with a raised garden bed, insulation, sand, and some other materials, can make it possible for you to enjoy fresh produce all year.
It is possible to help prevent slips and falls on your sidewalk or driveway without shoveling or using ice melt. There are heat cable systems explicitly designed for use in concrete, asphalt, or pavers to help keep your driveway and sidewalk warm all winter.
A heat cable system can also be applied to outdoor stairs and ramps to help prevent dangerous ice buildup.
5. Underfloor Heating
If you have wood or tile floors, you know how cold it can be to step on those on a chilly winter morning. But, you can solve that problem with heated flooring. Heated floor systems use heat cable as a key component to warm up and retain heat underneath your floor.
6. Pond Freeze Protection
In nature, fish, frogs, and other pond life hibernate at the bottom of the pond or in surrounding areas during the winter. Since large ponds don’t freeze clear to the bottom, these animals can usually survive the winter months under a few inches of ice on the pond.
But, if you have a small pond at home, you may need to take measures to keep your entire pond from freezing, which can kill your fish and frogs. A waterproof heat cable system can keep your small pond at a consistent temperature, preserving the life of your little friends.
In the colder months, it is normal for the inside of a home to be warmer than the outside air. The humidity outside is also often higher than it is inside. Sometimes this difference in temperature and humidity can cause condensation on windows.
This most commonly occurs on windows because they are the coldest spot in a room. If you have a way to keep windows at a warmer temperature, you may be able to avoid that condensation. Heat cable is an excellent way to keep windows warm.
As you can see, there are multiple uses and applications for heat cables. Heat cable can be an excellent investment to keep your home or business protected from the effects of a cold winter.
There are different kinds of heat cables, and it is crucial to get the right kind for your specific needs. Also, before beginning any type of heat cable installation, it is a good idea to become educated or consult an electrician to ensure things are installed correctly and safely.
For more help, you can contact the professional heat cable installers over at our sister company, WasatchHeatCable.com.