Trace Heating

Focused heat to prevent water pipes and gutters from freezing, and to maintain process temperatures

Category: Trace Heating
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Heat Mat Trace heating systems and cables

Trace Heating cables provide focused and controllable heat to prevent pipes and gutters from freezing, or to maintain process temperatures. The major benefits of Trace Heating are that the specialist cables 'self-regulate' their temperature (so they cannot overheat) and they can also be cut to length during installation, to ensure the perfect fit, every time.

Heat Mat supplies a wide variety of high quality, European manufactured Trace Heating cables, suitable for the vast majority of applications. These heating cables are backed up by a comprehensive range of Trace Heating, Ice & Snow melting thermostats and wiring accessories.

  • Frost protection of water pipes and condensate/drainage pipes
  • Protect sprinkler systems
  • Maintain process temperatures
  • Ice and snow melting on roofs and in gutters
  • Ice prevention in downpipes and waste pipes
  • Temperature maintenance of air ducts extracting dust, or of containers for dry food, to prevent condensation build-up and blockages
  • A wide variety of cable types and outputs to satisfy various applications
  • Standard range from 12W – 28W per metre
  • High quality junction boxes and thermostats provide a comprehensive and fast to install system

Parallel-resistive cables

In addition to constant-wattage and trace heating cables, Heat Mat offers parallel-restive cables for roof and gutter heating and frost protection of pipes (where this type of cable is desired).

Parallel-resistive cables benefit from the same cut-to-length onsite feature of Trace Heating cables, whilst retaining the constant wattage benefits of standard heating cables to ensure that the electrical load does not vary, therefore simplifying electrical installation.

These cables are suitable for a wide variety of applications. For more information please speak to Heat Mat for details of the outputs and cable types available.

Intelligent cables

Trace Heating cables are significantly more intelligent than 'standard' heating cables. They are created by placing a self-regulating heating element between two bus wires, one live and one neutral. When power is connected to these bus wires the heating element receives 230V, causing it to heat up. Each element 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.

Targeted heat

Trace Heating cables vary their output, centimetre by centimetre along the cable, depending on the temperature of the self-regulating heating element. If you used a 17W/lm Trace Heating cable to protect a 20m long water pipe, and half of the pipe was indoors and insulated, and half was outdoors and uninsulated, the cable on the two different sections would react very differently. The heating cable on the indoor section would quickly warm up to perhaps 20°C, and its output would fall to around 8W per metre, as it does not need to heat as much to maintain the pipe's temperature. If it is very cold outside, the cable there may never be able to heat the pipe above 5°C, and the cable will therefore maintain its output at 17W per metre; as this is the amount of energy it needs to use to protect the pipe from freezing. It is this clever feature that makes Trace Heating such a versatile product. Being able to vary its output centimetre by centimetre along its length depending on local temperature conditions is an incredibly useful feature.

Finding the correct cable for the application

The relationship between the temperature of the element and its wattage output is set in the factory and cannot be changed once the cable has been produced. It is important to choose the correct heating cable for a project, to ensure the system runs in the most energy-efficient manner possible. However it is also possible to run more than one cable along a pipe, or to spiral the cable around the pipe to obtain the desired output.

Protection from overheating cables

As the Trace Heating cables lower their wattage output as they heat up, in normal circumstances the cables can be crossed over on top of each other and there is no chance that they will burn out or overheat. This allows particularly cold areas such as taps, joints, or tanks to have multiple layers of Trace Heating without risking damaged cables; in direct contrast to constant Wattage heating cables, which cannot be crossed over without risking damage.

Ready-made trace heating lengths

In addition to cut-to-length Trace Heating, Heat Mat offers pre-made lengths of 11W/lm heating cable, suitable for use within pressured water pipes to prevent them from freezing. The lengths benefit from having a cold tail lead and final termination made in the factory, which saves on installation time, and can be introduced into the pipe via a specialist brass gland. These units can also be used to protect boiler condensate pipes from freezing.

Thermostats and junction boxes

Heat Mat supplies a wide variety of thermostats and junction boxes, designed for use with cut-to-length Trace Heating. These items are all supplied with IP65 rated enclosures to resist moisture ingress and they can be supplied with metal brackets to affix them on top of pipes.

Trace Heating Technical Specification

TRA-20A-STAT Industrial 20Amp trace heating thermostat with NTC temperature sensor
TRA-13A-STAT Plugin 13Amp thermostat with air or pipe temperature sensor and dual plug extension lead
TRA-50A-GLFB Glass fibre fixing tape 50m x 25mm
TRA-087-MBRK On-pipe mounting bracket for junction boxes
TRA-125-MBRK On-pipe mounting bracket for 20A thermostat
TRA-JUN-BUDG Budget T-piece junction box
TRA-JUN-PREM Premium IP65 rated T-piece junction box
Maximum Length of heating cable at minimum start up temperatures:
Product Code Circuit Breaker +10°C 0°C -15°C -25°C
ACC-CAB-EX12 10A 118m 109m 90m 79m
16A 154m 154m 139m 118m
ACC-CAB-EX17 10A 104m 95m 78m 70m
16A 139m 139m 122m 113m
ACC-CAB-EX23 10A 79m 73m 62m 57m
16A 116m 113m 97m 89m
ACC-CAB-EX28 10A 60m 51m 45m 42m
16A 100m 86m 72m 65m

We supply a large range of trace heating cables which have unique characteristics and technical specifications. Please contact us for details of the technical specifications of the trace heating cable you are considering.