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Winter Frost Protection


Ground frost and below freezing temperatures can create havoc during the winter months and Trace Heating is the best way to help protect your commercial property. In this article, we’ve highlighted its top uses and our recommended products.

Trace Heating is a great way to protect water pipes, pumps, sprinkler systems and oil fuel lines from freezing as it can provide regularised heat to keep liquids from solidifying. Electronic heating cables are also used in roof and gutter heating to ensure efficient free-flowing melted water through gutters and downspouts. A third application is to ensure critical access areas are maintained and accessible – such as ramps and driveways in an electronic snow and ice melting system.

How does Trace Heating Work?

Frozen pipes can cause costly damage to your building as well as cause disruption to your essential utilities. A build-up of snow and ice on rooftops may also create blockages that could harm the integrity of your premises. 

Trace Heating is an electrical heating element that creates surface heating – replacing the heat loss of an object which cannot be achieved with thermal insulation alone. Trace Heating cabling or heat tape as it is sometimes known, is applied directly to the pipe or a surface such as a roof. It uses low wattage power that’s incredibly energy efficient and has a lifespan that’s usually many decades.

A self-regulating cable is most commonly used for frost protection as it has the distinct advantage of regularising the operating temperature – only powering up when required and temperatures are detected to be below a pre-determined level. Its self regulating set-up means there is no risk of overheating and it’s suitable for all forms of properties – in commercial, residential and industrial environments.  

What Trace Heating cable should I use?

We recommend you use products from a well-known manufacturer such as nVent. As part of the Diamond Controls Group, Trace Heating Supplies is an authorised distributor for nVent RAYCHEM products, the market leaders in Trace Heating. Here’s a look at two of our most popular frost protection solutions.

Raychem XL Trace

This heat trace cable is our most popular frost protection Trace Heating product. XL Trace is self regulating and available in various wattage outputs – from 10W/m – 31W/m at 5C. You’ll find it is most commonly used with the Raystat V5 Thermostat and control unit to give you temperature control throughout the application.

Raychem IceStop

Used as gutter freeze protection, IceStop is a self-regulating cable specifically designed for roofs and gutters and can be used with all types of roofing. It’s typically paired with the EMDR-10 temperature and moisture sensing controller that will enable you to monitor and set working temperatures. A major benefit of this system is that it only powers up when there is a threat of snow and ice, making it incredibly energy efficient.

As with all specifications, we advise you contact an expert like Trace Heating Supplies to discuss your individual requirements to understand the full range of products on offer and how they will help protect your premises.

Servicing and Maintenance

Trace Heating has an exceptional lifespan and requires very little maintenance. However, it is always advised that you regularly service and carry out a functional check of the system to ensure it’s in good working order.

If you’re already using Trace Heating, take a look at our winter maintenance tips or give us a call on 0203 876 5940 to arrange a comprehensive system service. This means you know your Trace Heating is working to its full potential and you’re able to identify any issues before they become a problem.

A one stop shop service

Using products from the market-leading brand, nVent RAYCHEM, our full turnkey service includes the specification, design, installation and commissioning of Trace Heating systems. We also offer a materials-only service or can help your team with training and commissioning of a self-installed system.

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