HVAC Piping systems especially in the Northern regions need a way to freeze protect piping the runs outdoor which is a necessity in many different HVAC application. To protect HVAC piping from freezingheat trace tape is wound around the pipe and controlled by an outdoor thermostator temperature control that energizes the heat trace tape and keeps the pipe from freezing. Heat trace tape looks similar to Romex and simply provides electrical resistive heating for the pipe. Heat trace tape is made of many layers that begins with the heat trace wire. The wire inside the insulation (typically 16 AWG) that heats up is surrounded by a conductive core. The conductive core is surrounded by a thermoplastic insulation. This has an outer copper overshield that is also in a thermoplastic insulation as an outer jacket to protect the inner layers of the heat trace tape. The photo shows a heat trace tape temperature controller that energizes the heat trace tape to protect the piping from freezing. In this particular case, the temperature controller controls the heat trace tape on a chilled water piping system and a hot water piping system. Tanks can also be wrapped with heat trace tape and then insulated for further protection.
It is important to protect the pipe from freezing even on hot water piping as many different control applications will include a schedule that will turn off the heating system to save energy so there are periods of time when the systems may be shut down and this time can include freezing temperatures outside. Heat trace tape can be used on many different types of systems where freezing is a concern but is used widely in HVAC piping applications. Even some glycol systems need to have heat trace tape on piping systems.