Heating self-regulating cable for pipe heating: how to choose


self-regulating cable on the pipe

A heat­ing cable or tape is a device that is designed to save pipes freez­ing in cold win­ters with the help of elec­tric cur­rent.

By con­vert­ing elec­tric cur­rent into heat, they pre­vent the for­ma­tion of ice plugs and thus ensure a con­stant sup­ply of water in con­di­tions of low sub-zero tem­per­a­tures.

In order not to make a mis­take with the choice, let’s look at the types of heat­ing cables in detail.

Types and characteristics of the heating cable

Resistive Heating Tape

It con­sists of an out­er and inner sheath and a braid, inside of which there is a con­duc­tor cov­ered with insu­la­tion.resistance tape for plumbing

This view is fur­ther divid­ed into two types:

  • lin­ear,
  • zon­al.

The dif­fer­ence between lin­ear and zon­al is that it gen­er­ates heat when cur­rent pass­es through the heat­ing core. There may be two or more of these.

The advan­tage of this type is the sim­plic­i­ty of design, cheap price and at the same time high pow­er, while, how­ev­er, there is one seri­ous dis­ad­van­tage: in the event of a break­down in some place, you can­not cut the wire, you will have to change the entire heat­ing sec­tion.

Self-adjusting tape

The main fea­ture of the device is a self-reg­u­lat­ing con­duc­tive matrix that runs between the cores and the inner sheath. Con­duc­tors react to tem­per­a­ture changes in this way:

  • as the tem­per­a­ture drops, the resis­tance of the con­duc­tor also drops,
  • the cur­rent increas­es, due to which the cable gen­er­ates heat.

electrical heating tape with matrixA good fea­ture of this type is that in dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the pipe, heat­ing occurs accord­ing to the tem­per­a­ture in this par­tic­u­lar place, this saves elec­tric­i­ty. Also, dur­ing instal­la­tion, this cable can be divid­ed into parts of any length. Also, such cables are more resis­tant to pow­er surges.

Such tapes serve for about 20 years due to the wear of the semi­con­duc­tor matrix, but they do not over­heat and, in gen­er­al, are reli­able.

You should choose based on how often you use the cot­tage, if you come from time to time, then an unreg­u­lat­ed sim­ple guide will do, in the case of per­ma­nent res­i­dence, it is bet­ter to choose the sec­ond option.

Installation and connection

Please note before instal­la­tion:

  • All work must be car­ried out at a tem­per­a­ture of at least ‑15 C.
  • Plas­tic pipes must be insu­lat­ed with alu­minum foil or tape before instal­la­tion.
  • The cord should not run along sharp edges where it can fray or be pulled.
  • The bend­ing radius of the cord is equal to 6 of its diam­e­ters.
  • It is nec­es­sary to ring the con­duc­tor for resis­tance at the end of the work.

For plumbing

Inter­nal lay­ing

It is used for pipes of small diam­e­ter, less than half a cen­time­ter in the absence of access to the pipe itself, for exam­ple, when the pipe is already buried. The length of the pipe is mea­sured and a wire of the same length is pushed inward.

Exter­nal styling

laying heating cable with thermal insulation

  • We pre­pare pipes, we clean them from rust.
  • We mount the heat­ing wire in one of the fol­low­ing ways:
  • One or more par­al­lel threads. To do this, you need to cal­cu­late how much heat is need­ed for heat­ing and, based on this, select the num­ber of threads.
  • Spi­ral styling. Suit­able for small diam­e­ter pipes and due to the fact that in this case more length is required, this instal­la­tion option is not as eco­nom­i­cal as the pre­vi­ous one.
  • We fix the wire on the bot­tom of the pipe with tape so that it is as far as pos­si­ble from the ele­ments of the pipe that can leak. This will pre­vent you from get­ting water on the work­ing parts of the wire.
  • Min­er­al wool or poly­styrene is laid so that the “cold” end of the cable does not get inside.
  • Elec­tric­i­ty is con­nect­ed from a sock­et or shield.

Resis­tive con­duc­tors must not be over­lapped, over­heat­ing will occur. Reg­u­lat­ed ones do not self-ignite, so this rule is can­celed for them.

For drain

installation and connection of a self-regulating cable for a drain

When heat­ing the drain and the roof, it is bet­ter to use a self-reg­u­lat­ing type of con­duc­tor; it does not require the instal­la­tion of a tem­per­a­ture sen­sor. Burn­ing of the drain implies the use of a con­trol pan­el, which includes:

  • Input three-phase device of auto­mat­ic shut­down of elec­tric­i­ty.
  • RCD
  • Four-pole con­tac­tor
  • Sin­gle-pole auto­mat­ic dis­con­nect devices per phase
  • Ther­mo­stat cir­cuit break­er
  • sig­nal lamp

In addi­tion, the fol­low­ing com­po­nents are used:

  • Pow­er and sig­nal cables
  • Mount­ing box­es
  • Cou­plings for a tight con­nec­tion
  • Cable ter­mi­na­tions

If the drain pipe is made of poly­mer­ic mate­ri­als, the spe­cif­ic pow­er of the device must be less than sev­en­teen watts per meter, if this con­di­tion is not met, the pipe will begin to melt from heat­ing.

You also need a tem­per­a­ture con­troller for roof anti-icing sys­tems (for exam­ple, RT-200) or a weath­er sta­tion. It is more con­ve­nient to use the weath­er sta­tion, since it does not require man­u­al shut­down of the entire sys­tem in the absence of pre­cip­i­ta­tion, but it is more expen­sive.


The cable in the gut­ter is attached to a spe­cial mount­ing tape, which is glued in small strips across the cord. The thick­er the tape, the longer it will last. Strips of tape should be repeat­ed in incre­ments of a quar­ter meter for the resis­tive type and half a meter for the self-adjust­ing. Strips of tape are fur­ther fixed with riv­ets and treat­ed with sealant.

In down­pipes, the heat­ing con­duc­tor is fixed with a heat-shrink­able tube or tape, as in the gut­ter. If the pipes are high­er than six meters in height, an addi­tion­al cable should be laid and a cable should be fixed on it to trans­fer the load.

  1. The cord is fixed to the roof with mount­ing tape.
  2. Mount­ing box­es are installed.
  3. Ther­mo­stat sen­sors, sig­nal and pow­er cables are installed.
  4. The con­trol pan­el is mount­ed, the resis­tance is mea­sured and the RCD is test­ed.
  5. The ther­mo­stat is set and it starts up.

It is unde­sir­able to drill the roof when installing the mount, because of this, leaks may occur.

We make a heating cable with our own hands

how to make your own heating cable from telephone cable

To save mon­ey, you can make a cable with your own hands, but it will not have a self-reg­u­lat­ing func­tion. To do this, you need to buy a pow­er tele­phone cable that is designed to work in humid con­di­tions.

When installing such a cable, it must be untwist­ed into two wires, then bend one wire in half and twist them back. Both ends of the wire must be well pro­tect­ed from mois­ture, ingress of the slight­est amount of water threat­ens to break.

If the lay­ing is car­ried out from the out­side, the wire does not need to be divid­ed. The wire attached to the pipe must be wrapped with foil, tape, and then with min­er­al wool for insu­la­tion.

Such a con­duc­tor is designed for a cur­rent strength of 9A.

Popular models and prices

You can pur­chase mod­els of dif­fer­ent brands in the respec­tive stores. Here are some of the most famous man­u­fac­tur­ers on the mar­ket with approx­i­mate min­i­mum prices per lin­ear meter:

  • Handy Heat (Den­mark) from 320 rubles.
  • Lavi­ta (South Korea) from 170 rubles.
  • Nel­son (USA) from 7 dol­lars.
  • Nex­ans (Nor­way) from 8 dol­lars.
  • Heat­line (Europe) about 12$.

The price depends on what design was used in the man­u­fac­ture.

  • More reli­able designs with two lay­ers of pro­tec­tive sheath are more expen­sive than cords with a sin­gle lay­er of pro­tec­tion.
  • Cables can use a dif­fer­ent num­ber of cores, the more, the bet­ter, this increas­es the ser­vice life and reli­a­bil­i­ty.

Also, the price is affect­ed by the pres­ence of a shield­ing braid, the qual­i­ty of all mate­ri­als used, pow­er den­si­ty, cross-sec­tion­al size and, of course, length.

Self-reg­u­lat­ing type is more expen­sive than its coun­ter­part.

Owner reviews

“Every win­ter my pipe burst, every win­ter I repaired it, because there was nowhere else to get water from. The plumb­ing was recent­ly laid, there were no plans to redo it. One friend told me that there is a cable that can heat pipes. Then I called him, he helped me to do every­thing. This year, the first win­ter did not repair any­thing, I am immense­ly hap­py. A good thing.”

Ivan, Sama­ra

“Before, the roof was con­stant­ly freez­ing. After a while it start­ed to leak. I start­ed look­ing for a solu­tion to the prob­lem. On the Inter­net, they advised me to buy a cord for heat­ing. At first I want­ed to put a sim­ple one, but then I forked out for a self-reg­u­lat­ing one. I installed it quick­ly, for the sec­ond year there has been no ice on the roof, every­thing works fine.”

Dmit­ry, of the world


Instead of a conclusion

Before pur­chas­ing or man­u­fac­tur­ing such prod­ucts on your own, as well as imme­di­ate­ly before installing the heat­ing sys­tem, you need to think about the next steps and act very care­ful­ly. It will pay off for you more than once with pipes that sur­vived the most ter­ri­ble frosts, nerves and saved mon­ey.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Like