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How to use heat trace cable and other common questions...

Haven't used heat trace cable before? Here are the answers to questions we often get asked...

Where should I cut the heat trace?

Self-regulating heat trace can be cut anywhere on the cable. It doesn't matter a

bout the minimum length - if you want 5cm you could even cut it this short. It is a major benefit of using self-regulating heat trace as it heats from the power supply to the end of the cable.

This is different to power limiting or constant watt cables where you may have a set length of cable that is needed (e.g. watts per metre - call Vaughan if you need help with this).

Power limiting cables come in nodes. When you cut between two nodes you get an area which can no longer heat (e.g. a cold spot) so you have to really consider where you cut that cable. What do I use to cut heat trace cable?

You can cut the heat trace cable with anything that will make a strong clean cut.

How do I attach heat trace cable?

You typically attach it with fixing tape - most common is attaching it using fibreglass tape or aluminium tape. This can change depending on the type of heat trace cable and the environment it is being applied in. Call us for advice around your heat trace cable application.

Can self-regulating heat trace cable control to a temperature that I require?

Yes and no - depending on your temperature requirements.

1. Do you need to control to over a over a certain temperature?

Yes self-regulating heat trace can do that, but in many cases you will need a temperature controller to maintain a certain temperature.

Temperature controllers are needed for 3 primary reasons:

  • Product protection

  • Heat trace protection

  • Saving power (except for trade waste and hot water)

2. Do you have a specific set temperature (e.g. within 1-2 degrees) that you need to control for?

No, it is not suitable. The exception to this is if you are using self-regulated heat trace for hot water maintenance or trade waste lines. Thermon has designed a heat trace cable for these specific purposes - primarily because they are exposed to less temperature swings (e.g. inside a house or under the ground).

Do I join the bus wires together?

Never join the bus wires together - they are not the heater. The black polymer inside the cable is the heater and that is basically a semiconductor that has a negative temperature coefficient so as the temperature rises the output of the cable drops off.

Disclaimer - VMS Heat Tracing is not responsible for issues resulting from the above advice. If in doubt about using heat trace, give us a call and we are happy to help.

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