Heating cables: what they are and what their characteristics are

Heating cables: what they are and what their characteristics are

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THE heating cables they represent an in-depth topic not well known to all but, precisely for this reason, deserving of a specific study.

Also for this reason we wanted to summarize in this focus everything you need to know about heating cables, then naturally leaving you to deepen every further aspect with an expert in the sector.

What are heating cables

Let's start by briefly clarifying that i heating cables they are, in short, cables that heat up when the current is passed.

Also known by the name of heat-traceable cable, or thermal cable, or heating cable and other similar names, it is actually a different element from the heating cable, for technical aspects that we do not want to try to summarize here.

What is important to understand, from this brief introduction, is that they are there many different styles of cable heating, which, as can be guessed, reach various different temperatures and serve various purposes.

Heating cables or heating tapes

Despite the similarity of the names - and even though the heating cable is often sold for gutters and roofs under the name of "heating tape" - there is a substantial difference between the two components.

In particular, the heating cable has a lower power density and temperatures, are available with housing styles resistant to water and many chemicals, and are mainly suitable for outdoor use. They are also quite stiff (they are generally flexible like a garden hose), but very good for coiling around hoses.

The heating tape instead has higher power density and temperatures. Some types are resistant to moisture or suitable for use on electrically conductive surfaces, but should not be submerged in water, and are generally intended for indoor applications. These are highly flexible components, and can adapt to narrow contours and particular shapes.

Types of heating cables

Of course, the above indications are only suggestions, which you can only deepen on a case-by-case basis. The use of heating cables they are in fact numerous, and what we can tell you is that you can use them inside and outside the home for many purposes.

Read also: DIY biogas, how to make one at home?

As for the types of heating cables, we can summarize two:

  • constant power heating cables: these are fixed length cables, switched on at 100% of the thermal power or switched off at 0% of the thermal power. They usually require a thermostat to maintain a constant temperature. Constant power cables cannot be overlapped, as this could cause them to overheat. A break in a section of the cable will also cause a complete failure of the entire system. They offer the advantage of being inexpensive, but cannot be cut on site. Instead, they are sold in specific lengths and wattages, which makes them less versatile than self-regulating cables. The constant power cable can be used on internal and external water supply lines subject to freezing temperatures. They are ideal for use in crawl spaces, cottages, barns and outbuildings that are not regularly heated;
  • self-regulating heating cables: these are cables that overcome the constraints of constant power cables, which we have briefly mentioned above. In this type of case, in fact, the electric power cables are coextruded in a heating element consisting of a material based on polymers with carbon particles. This provides a resistance path, then a circuit along the length of the heating cable. This resistance and therefore the output of the heating cable varies depending on the temperature due to the microscopic expansion and contraction of the polymer. The output power is reduced as the temperature increases. Conversely, at lower temperatures, the power is increased. No thermostat is required because they automatically vary their heating power according to changes in the surrounding temperature. Designed for industrial, commercial and residential applications, they offer maximum freeze protection and temperature maintenance, and can be cut to any length on site quickly and easily. Because they are designed to vary heat output as the surrounding temperature changes, they are ideal for use on applications with metal or plastic water supply and drain piping subject to freezing temperatures, for processing applications where liquids in piping require constant temperature and as freeze protection for branch sprinkler systems.


With the above characteristics, heating cables can represent a pleasant element to improve living comfort or to create particularly effective systems outside the home.

For example, it is possible to install heating cables on the roof, in the gutters and in other elements located outside the house and which, in particularly cold climates, could be affected by damage from frost. The presence of the heating cables, on the other hand, prevents the formation of frost, favoring a simple thawing of the ice, and preventing any kind of injury whatsoever.

Even inside the apartment, the heating cables can be of great use to improve home comfort. Think of the possibility of delivering heat through the flooring, thus allowing you to have heated walking surfaces, which in winter can only be a great pleasure!

Having said that, our suggestion can only be to induce you to talk about it with an expert designer, who can reassure you about the goodness and effectiveness of these systems, and can direct you to the best choice for your home and your open spaces. !

Video: Heat-Line Paladin u0026 EXT Series Self-Regulating External Heating Cable for Pipe Freeze Protection (June 2022).


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