Heat Mat Blog
Professional Electrician March 2010 – No More Mr Ice Guy
Dave Green from Heat Mat Ltd looks at the opportunities presented by the recent cold weather.
The freezing weather conditions in the early part of the year caused disruption to businesses and homes alike – burst pipes, iced up gutters and treacherous car parks and walkways. Many businesses suffered as a result and the cost to the UK economy is still being calculated.
These issues have created many opportunities for electrical contractors as the volume of enquiries for trace heating and snow melting systems has surged to unprecedented levels.
There are a variety of systems that electricians can supply and install to prevent many of the problems associated with cold weather and the associated snow and ice. Over the coming year, whilst the cold spell is still prominent in people’s minds, there are fantastic opportunities to supply cold weather systems and capitalise on the current demand.
The systems on offer fall into two main categories; retrofit items that can be easily added to current infrastructure, such as trace heating and gutter clearance systems, and products that require a significant amount of building work to install, such as heating systems for car parks or loading ramps.
Trace of spades
The main retrofit systems are designed to prevent water freezing in pipes and gutters. Pipe heating systems are often low cost and use a heating wire that is wrapped around the water pipe and covered with lagging to prevent frozen and burst pipes.The systems either use self-limiting cables (trace heating), or cables with an integrated bimetallic strip thermostat.
Industrial gutter clearance systems either use conventional heating cables or trace heating to provide the warmth to ensure gutters do not freeze up.This ensures the façade of the building does not suffer ice damage and perhaps more importantly in these litigious times, prevents dangerous build ups of ice which could cause serious injury if they become loose and hit someone.
Specialist thermostats that measure both the ambient air temperature and the moisture level in the gutter should be used, ensuring the systems only power up when required.