Heat Tape, Heating Cord or Heat Trace Cable?
Chances are you ended up here searching for heat tape, and that's because everyone uses that term loosely. Although they can be similiar in appearance, there is a difference between heat tape, heating cord and heat trace cable. There are also other terms used such as heating cable, heat tracing and heated cable. To make your purchase easier, lets determine your intended use and apply the correct item for your application.
Pipe freeze protection
To keep water lines from freezing, you want to use self-regulating heat trace cable. This is the most popular solution that people ask for heat tape, and that's because most hardware stores use that term. Nothing wrong with calling it that, but you want the correct product that will work safely and last longer.
Roof and or gutter protection
To protect your gutters from freezing and creating ice dams that cause major damage to your home or business, you will also use self-regulating heat trace cable, but it will need to be UL approved. Some people call this gutter cable, roof heat tape and gutter protection. We sell heat trace cable by the foot, and we stock all of the accessories you need to protect your roof and gutters from freezing. We also have roof and gutter cable kits that include everything you need to install on smaller sections up to 100 feet.
Process heating to keep a pipe ot tube hot enough to move a liquified product
Here is where you may need constant wattage heat trace cable, that is different from self-regulating, as you will need a temperature controller to maintain a set heat point for your product. In some instances, heat tape can be used for this, depending on the size and temperature requirments. We carry heat tape with temperature controllers built in, with set temperature and some that require a controller. These are usually used for smaller projects, but the constant wattage heat trace cable is used for larger process heating projects. If you're not sure which would be best for your application, just give us a call.
Heat tape is the product to use for applications where small, cylindrical sections need high power densities (which usually indicates high temperatures as well). Heat tape is a constant-wattage product, as opposed to self-regulating products that have built-in protection against overheating, and for this reason you must use a temperature controller. One of the biggest differences between heat tape and heating cable is that heat tape is sold in fixed lengths.