Heat tape in a tight space

alan_s_thefirstOctober 20, 2012

Not really sure if this is plumbing or electrical... I want to put a short heat tape on my water shutoff..the code in BC Canada at the time permitted it to be in an outside wall...dumb.

It's very well insulated with isoboard now, so well the only way to attach the heat tape will be with cable ties, and it will have to run along the pipe, no wrapping around possible. I was going to put the approved Mylar bubble wrap insulation over it (instructions say to insulate and air barrier over the tape.

Will this work? I doubt the heat tape will ever be needed, it's just extra protection. I can't think of any other way to do it.

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I use a Raychem tape that changes resistance as the temperature changes. Then I plug that into a thermostat unit that shuts off at 40 deg and above. Bought it all at Grainger- do not know if they are in Canada.
Slip one of the split side pipe insulation sections over it. If just 10% of the interior cross section area of the pipe at all points is not frozen, the water will flow when desired.
The above should be enough to get your search started.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 7:28PM
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Thanks. The slit type insulation is a GREAT idea, if I can squeeze it in there, it's pretty tight but that would be perfect. I already have a little heat tape, the shortest one I could get, but I'll look at Raychem. I don't think I've seen that one, everyone seems to use this brand:

Here is a link that might be useful: Wrap-on

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 2:53AM
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The type of tape bus_driver refers to is a "self-regulating" tape. It puts out less heat the warmer it gets. That's what you want. Tape plus thermostat is a belt-and-suspenders setup to keep a failing tape from starting a fire.

This is the setup I specify for industrial use in the job that pays the bills.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 9:50AM
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You know, I missed the thermostat thing somehow. I guess something like a baseboard heater one? Good idea. If I'd known about that, I'd have wired things differently.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 9:30PM
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The thermostat I use is a separate item. It has a piggyback plug that the thermostat controls. That heat tape will use some power and create some heat even at Summer temperatures. I see no reason to use the electricity unnecessarily. So I set the thermostat to just turn off at 40 deg. Below 40, the tape is heating at about 3 watts per foot (as best I remember).

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Cool. Do you have a name or link for the thermostat? I'd planned to unplug the heat tape spring-fall, but I like the idea.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 3:24PM
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