Heating cable for plastic pipes and its installation

It’s crucial to keep our houses warm and comfortable, particularly in the winter. A dependable heating system is one of the essential elements that keeps an interior space comfortable. Heating cables for plastic pipes are becoming more and more well-liked as heating options because of how simple and effective they are to install.

A heating cable is a wire that is powered by electricity and is flexible. When electricity flows through it, heat is produced. These heating cables keep plastic pipes from freezing in cold weather when placed along them. This guards against potential freezing-related damage to the pipes and guarantees a continuous supply of water.

Homeowners with some basic do-it-yourself knowledge can easily install a heating cable for plastic pipes. You can install a heating system that will consistently ward off freezing with the correct equipment and advice, guaranteeing that your house stays toasty and useful all winter long.

Topic Heating cable for plastic pipes and its installation
Description A guide to using heating cables with plastic pipes to prevent freezing and ensure efficient heating.
  1. Design differences of self-regulating systems
  2. Useful tips for the beginner
  3. Instructions for installing self-regulating cable
  4. Option #1 – internal installation
  5. Option #2 – outdoor installation
  7. The principle of operation of the cable heating
  8. What characteristics are important for selection
  9. How to choose the right self-regulating conductor
  10. Laying methods
  11. Linear installation
  12. Spiral installation
  13. Internal installation
  14. Choosing a heating cable for water pipelines
  15. Types of pipe heating
  16. Resistive option for heating
  17. Self-adjusting semi-conductors
  18. Outdoor installation
  19. Installing the heating cable on the sewer pipe
  20. How to connect the cable
  21. Types and characteristics of heating cable
  25. Laying technology for pipe heating cables
  26. Design and application methods
  27. Install the heating cable inside the pipe
  28. Heating wire laying technology
  29. Peculiarities of internal installation
  30. Peculiarities of external installation
  31. What is self-regulating cable
  32. Advantages of electric water supply heating
  33. How to make a heating cable with your own hands.
  34. Using a thermostat
  35. Device and types of self-regulating heating cables
  36. Where heating systems are used
  37. Video on the topic
  38. How to correctly install heating cable inside the pipe
  39. Heating the pipe with a heating cable
  40. Self-regulating heating cable and its installation inside the pipe
  41. Heating cable connection
  42. Heating cable on a pipe. Installation rules
  43. Installation of a heating cable for pipe heating

Design differences of self-regulating systems

The term "samregi" (short for "resistive analogs") does not refer to the original versions of heating cables.

The resistive type is being used less frequently because of its drawbacks, which are summarized as follows:

  • certain length, impossibility of extension or shortening;
  • constant resistance along the entire length, which makes it impossible to adjust the temperature in individual sections;
  • connection at both ends, which causes difficulties during installation;
  • risk of overheating at intersections;
  • no repair as such, the whole system has to be replaced.

Because of its low cost, the resistive type is preferred when small protected areas require heating.

The resistive single-core cable’s design consists of four primary components: an internal andexternal protective braid, a copper core that serves as both a heating andheat-transfer medium, and

The self-regulating heating cable’s design differs in three key ways:

  • Two cores of copper with high degree of resistance. The higher the resistance, the higher the temperature regulation possibilities.
  • Semiconductor matrix. This is the essential element of the cable that makes it self-regulating. The matrix is sensitive to the surrounding temperature. As soon as the temperature drops, the resistance of the material rises and it starts to release more heat.
  • Internal insulation. Quality material is characterized by a uniform structure and maximum thermal conductivity.
  • Shielding braid. Most often it is a copper mesh or aluminum screen. To protect the cable, the power supply is necessarily connected by means of an RCD.
  • External insulation. Its function is to protect all elements of the cable. The characteristics of the outer insulation determine the service life of the product.

The samreg’s capacity to adjust its own resistance—and, consequently, power—in response to temperature changes eliminates the need to buy extra hardware, such as different thermostats with sensors.

Samreg plan. The semiconductor matrix situated in between the two copper cores is the primary differentiator. The matrix controls how much heat dissipation occurs.

If needed, the length of the completed product can be adjusted by cutting the cable.

There won’t be any overheating or system failure if two cable branches unintentionally cross. Cutting or replacing a piece at any time won’t harm the heating structure as a whole.

However, samreg’s primary benefit lies in its "selectivity." The matrix finds cold spots on its own and raises the temperature there to the ideal level.

It simply maintains the necessary parameters (usually + 3-5 ºC) on sufficiently heated areas. When a cable needs to be protected from freezing because it travels through both cold and heated areas, for example, it is incredibly practical to do so.

The cable is unplugged from the power source at the end of the cold season since there is no longer a need to heat the roof, ground, or pipes. A thermostat can be used to trigger the system automatically when there is a chance of severe night frosts.

Useful tips for the beginner

Purchasing a self-regulating cable is preferable when installing it on a pipe with an unstable temperature regime. When a portion of the system is located outside and the other portion is inside, this is accurate. This is because temperature sensors must be installed on various cable segments in order to use a robust and high-quality resistive cable.

The selection of thermal insulation, which is placed over the cable and pipe, should be given careful consideration. Whether or not it is possible to lower energy consumption and lengthen the cable’s lifespan will depend on

When placing the wire over the pipe, it is important to consider the allowable limits for bending. A kink that happens more than what is allowed could make it harder for something to work properly.

If cables are to be used to heat domestic pipes, a current leakage relay must be used to connect them. This requirement stems from the possibility of electrocution in the event that the insulation is compromised. It is crucial to take into account both the length and the power of the cable when choosing one. The indicator equal to 1.7 of the pipe length must be considered when installing it using the winding method.

Instructions for installing self-regulating cable

There are numerous cable laying options; the selection is based on the installation location and circumstances. Pipe insulation is typically required when setting up home autonomous communications, so we’ll go into more detail about the internal and spring installation procedures of the cable on the pipeline.

Option #1 – internal installation

There are several reasons to install heating cable inside a water or sewer pipe. The primary one is that the pipeline is already in the trench and covered in a layer of soil, making fixation impossible. Naturally, there are certain drawbacks to this kind of installation:

  • The use of an additional part – a tee;
  • Decrease of cable properties due to scaling, which appears after some time (depends on water characteristics);
  • reducing the diameter of the pipe, an additional obstacle to the movement of water;
  • Limited length and preferably used in straight sections.

A crucial note: shut-off valves must not be used when connecting heating systems; instead, a special tee is used to connect the selftube!

Since the same T-piece is used for all operations, replacing or repairing the cable is simple. The primary benefit of internal installation is that direct savings result from an increase in heating power caused by the cable’s contact with the liquid.

Use guidelines for the pre-made set:

  • connection of all functionally important parts to the cable (design of termination, connection of power cable);
  • inserting a tee into the pipe with a free outlet for the cable;
  • The cable is inserted inside the pipe to a certain length;
  • sealing of the assembly with the help of bushings or union nuts.

A samreg should not be inserted into a pipe with a cross-section smaller than 40 mm as this will alter the fluid’s volume and speed of movement.

You can see in the instructions below how to prepare the cable and put on the end sleeve:

Step 1: Take off the braid and insulation

Casing the cable end is step two.

Step 3: Secure the sleeve’s end with glue.

Step 4: Use a hair dryer to cap the cap.

The cable is now prepared for installation inside the sewer or water pipe.

Option #2 – outdoor installation

One to four self-regulating cables can be positioned outside of the pipe, but it is not advised to put more than one cable inside, particularly for narrow cross-sections. For small pipes (40–50 mm in diameter), one piece is typically sufficient; for large pipes situated in cold climates, two to four pieces are needed.

The "golden mean," which consists of two cables running parallel along opposing sides, is frequently utilized for communications installed underground.

Aluminum tape is used for fastening and is intended to improve heat transfer while also providing protection. But occasionally, a stronger fastening is needed—on the ties. It’s advised to use black UV-resistant screeds if the pipe fragment is exposed to direct sunlight.

The kind of laying—linear or spiral—is selected based on the necessary level of heating. A single cable is enough for an installation spiral.

The spiral approach uses the pipe’s entire surface area. The heating efficiency increases with the step size between cable turns. The interval is 5–6 cm on average. Approximately 1.7 to 1.8 times longer than a cable laid linearly is the spiral. One type of fastener is mounting tape.

Instructions for installation:

  • The cable is arranged along the entire length of the pipe section to be heated in a linear or spiral manner.
  • Wrapping in the course of installation of connecting units, valves and other shut-off fittings.
  • Fixing with mounting tape (aluminum tape, ties).
  • Thermal insulation "in the sleeve".

The final point is required. The insulator will help keep the heat produced by the cable inside the pipe area. Based on the kind of pipework and the surrounding environment, the type and thickness of thermal insulation are selected. Let’s say that installing water pipes in the trench, along with the heating cable, calls for insulation that is 25 to 30 mm thick. Possible options include basalt wool, foam "shell," and extrusion polystyrene foam.


* Measure the insulation resistance immediately before installation.* Based on the resistance measurement, check whether the delivered heating cable length corresponds to the design data.* Check that all the material required for the installation of the electric trace heating system is on the construction site and that it is not damaged.* Especially check whether the designation of the heating cable and its components corresponds to the project documents (material list) and the test certificate.* Using the installation instructions enclosed with the product, check whether you have all the necessary tools at your disposal.* Prepare the heating cable installation by thoroughly checking the condition of the pipe system to be heated.* Eliminate sharp edges and irregularities that could damage the heating cable.* Lacquered and painted pipes and surfaces must be completely dry by the start of installation.* Check that the actual length of the pipes corresponds to the calculated length of the pipes.* Before starting the installation of the heating cable, check whether the internal diameter of the pipes corresponds to the design diameter. Only cut the cable after it has been laid on the pipe and secured.

The principle of operation of the cable heating

Since plastic is the material used to make these products, freezing rarely destroys them, which is why the use of plastic pipes is growing in popularity. Nonetheless, the use of heating cables to defrost plastic pipes is growing because they spare expensive repairs and let the pipeline run continuously.

In these systems, a nichrome alloy wire covered in a heat-resistant sheath serves as the heating element. Drainage wires are situated right next to them. Their goal is to disperse heat uniformly throughout the cable’s cross-section, which is made possible by the material’s high thermal conductivity.

Copper wires are used to make these components. Heat is dispersed evenly across the conductor’s surface and transferred from the first two components to the high-thermal conductivity aluminum alloy sheath. Furthermore, the heating cable is strengthened further by the aluminum layer.

Heat-resistant plastic containing fluorine is applied to the conductor as a final coating. The robustness and functionality of the cable route for heating plastic pipelines are guaranteed by this design.

Along with these parts, the product frequently has a signal wire with a sensor that senses a drop in the temperature of the heating cable and activates the relay of the heating control circuit.

For summer homes and country homes where people are occasionally present, using a heating structure made of plastic pipes makes sense.

What characteristics are important for selection

It will be simpler to choose from the many options available if you know in advance the diameter of the water pipe, the length of the area that needs to be heated, and the lowest possible temperature of the ground.

As a result, we consider the following:

  • whether the cable has a protective braid (it provides grounding and makes the cable more reliable);
  • type of external insulation;
  • temperature class and power;
  • manufacturing company.

We suggest protecting against fluoroplastic for internal installation in the water pipe, but perhaps for the sewer system and appropriate cable with polyolefin insulation. Fluoropolymer is appropriate for outdoor installation because it offers protection from both moisture and UV light.

Low-temperature conductors are suitable if small-diameter pipes need to be heated. It can reach +65 ºC and has a maximum power of roughly 15 W/m.

Larger pipe diameters work well with systems operating at a medium temperature. The maximum heating temperature is +120 oC, and the maximum power is 33 W/m. With a maximum temperature of + 190 ºC and specific power of up to 95 W/m, the most potent are regarded as high-temperature systems; however, these are typically not used in homes but rather in industrial settings.

Choosing an appropriate power can be done by considering the pipe’s diameter. For instance, cables with a power of 10 W/m are appropriate for water pipes with a diameter of up to 2.5 cm; cables with a diameter of 4 to 6 cm are suitable from 4 to 6 cm to 24 W/m, and so on.

There are a number of heating cable brands that have only ever been well-established. renowned goods made by foreign businesses:

One of the most notable Russian manufacturers is SST (Teplolyuks), which creates excellent household goods.

How to choose the right self-regulating conductor

We have discussed the self-regulating heating cable’s working principle. We’ll explain how to select a heating wire based on capacity in the following section. We will utilize low-temperature samples, which are heated to a maximum of +60 degrees Celsius, for installation both inside and outside the pipe. Consider the following indicators when calculating the heating cable:

The maximum power output of the cable is determined by the quantity of conductive paths within it.

  • Internal location when passing pipes underground – the optimal power will be 5 watts per linear meter;
  • Outdoor location when passing pipes underground – depending on the depth of burial, you can use samples with a capacity of 10-15 W/m;
  • Any location with outdoor pipes – choose a thin heating cable with a power of 20-30 watts.

Low-temperature self-regulating heating cable, which prevents pipeline freezing, is flexible and has a small thickness, making it easy to wrap around water supply pipelines.

Now let us see how long we can cut off the self-regulating heating cable. The heating cable’s arbitrary length has already been mentioned. There are still certain restrictions, though. A recommended length of 80–100 meters is the maximum, and 20–30 cm is the minimum. The bending radius is composed of six diameters.

Self-regulating heating wires come in a variety of power levels, with prices varying accordingly. For instance, a meter of heating cable (30GSR2) with a 30 W/m capacity costs roughly 210–230 rubles. Additionally, the 16-watt modification 16GSR2 will set you back 180–190 rubles per м. It is available for purchase at plumbing and heating supply stores in your city, as well as construction hypermarkets.

Keep in mind that there are two varieties of self-regulating heating cables to choose from:

It is possible to install heating cables straight inside the pipes thanks to a unique double insulation. Nevertheless, this choice necessitates more labor-intensive work.

  • Technical – it is used to heat water pipes from the outside;
  • With safe insulation – it can be installed inside the pipe as it uses safe fluorine insulation.

Make sure you ask the seller if you can use the heating cable inside the water supply pipe before purchasing any samples. Universal heating cables with silicone insulation are also available for purchase; these cables can be used for underfloor heating and to heat pipes.

Laying methods

It is possible to install the heating cable inside or outside the pipeline. There are two types of external methods: spiral laying and linear laying.

Linear installation

Experts claim that the linear method of laying is the most practical. Here, the heating element is extended all the way through the pipe. In this instance, the product’s wiring needs to be on the underside to prevent mechanical damage. When it comes to fastening, aluminum tape is the better option for CSR. In this instance, the conductor’s heat output and fixing quality will both be enhanced.

Spiral installation

The heating cable will break if this installation technique is not done carefully and precisely because it will bend repeatedly and sharply. The wire can be sagging or placed closely to the pipe. In the first scenario, the heating element is wound onto the pipeline at a predetermined interval after being cautiously unwound from the coupling. In the second variation, the cable is arranged in a spiral pattern such that it sags below the product instead of being adjacent to it.

Internal installation

When using the internal method, CSR is laid from inside the pipe. When access to the exterior of the water pipe is unavailable, this option is typically used. Installing a tee in the proper location in the pipe will allow you to pull the cable to the issue area during an internal installation. The gland assembly is then sealed and screwed on.

You can connect the heating cable to the power grid as soon as one of the aforementioned installations is completed.

Choosing a heating cable for water pipelines

If all the technical details are carefully taken into account during the design phase, an electric heater purchase won’t be a major financial shock. The project’s specific goal and the desired performance metrics form the basis of the logical decision.

First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that thermal cables are separated into three categories: country, industrial, and domestic. It is not hard to surmise that the structure’s installation location serves as the basis for the classification that is being presented.

The degree of stability of the material—cable for both interior and exterior works—is the basis of another categorization scheme. Regarding the first option, the device’s power is determined by calculating how best to use the given parameters to create the ideal atmosphere in the room.

Apart from the aforementioned attributes, such constructions possess several other characteristics:

  1. In a separate category are systems used in the sewer system. Their task is to ensure a given temperature regime. Depending on the specification, the thermoregulating cable can be installed inside gutters and downspouts. In addition, the triple winding protects the water supply system from freezing.
  2. For households, it is recommended to use a design whose power does not exceed 60 watts per 1 meter of area. It is necessary to avoid connecting a more powerful thermal cord, otherwise utility bills will increase significantly.

Making the right construction type selection will aid in the network’s precalculation. All cables have two basic features, regardless of the manufacturer. We are discussing the power at rest in the first case. At this point, this indicator ought to be close to "0" when the wire is not connected to the heating system. The pipeline’s operating power is the second crucial feature. It is easier to heat a large room the larger it is.

Types of pipe heating

Heating wires are divided into self-regulating and resistive systems based on how they dissipate heat. Every one of them has unique qualities.

Resistive option for heating

Such a cable works on the basis of heating the insulated metal core, and temperature monitoring is necessary to keep the heating element from burning out. Such a cable comes in one or two core varieties, depending on the construction type. The first option needs to have the circuit closed, so it is rarely used.

Such a system may not always be feasible with pipe heating.

How the resistive cable is arranged

Double-core wire is more useful because it has a contact sleeve on one end that creates a closed circuit and is connected to the network on the other. Heat may come from one conductor, and the second conductor’s only purpose is to provide the required conductivity. Occasionally, both conductors are employed, which raises the heating’s output.

Multilayer insulation that is grounded in the shape of a contour (screen) shields the conductors from damage. Polyvinyl chloride sheathing encases the outer contour to prevent mechanical damage.

Two different kinds of resistance cable cutting

Both advantages and disadvantages exist with such a system. The first consists of:

  • High power and heat output, which is necessary for pipelines with an impressive diameter or with a considerable number of details of the style (tees, flanges, etc.).д.)
  • Uncomplicated construction at an affordable cost. Such a cable for heating a water pipe with minimum power costs 150 rubles per meter.

Among the system’s drawbacks are the following:

  • For correct operation it is necessary to purchase additional elements (temperature sensor, control unit for automatic control).
  • The cable is sold with a certain meterage, and the end contact sleeve is mounted in the conditions of production. It is forbidden to cut by yourself.

The second option is utilized for operation that is more economical.

Self-adjusting semi-conductors

The first option is entirely different in principle from this self-regulating heating cable system for water pipes. A unique semiconductor matrix that serves as a heating source is positioned between two conductors (metal). High current conductivity at low temperatures is thus guaranteed. Concurrently, there is a discernible drop in electricity consumption as the temperature rises.

Kindly take note! The heater’s self-regulation process occurs at discrete intervals along its whole length.

You can reach the highest temperatures in more susceptible areas with the help of such features. There are benefits specific to this heating water pipe cable system.

  • Savings on energy consumption are increased, as the system reduces power as the ambient temperature rises.
  • It is possible to buy the necessary length, cutting points are provided in increments of 20 or 50 cm.

The expensive price of the cable itself is a drawback. The most "advanced" models are estimated to cost more than 1000 rubles, while even the most basic varieties cost roughly 300 rubles per meter.

Version in cross-section with a heating wire that regulates itself

It is possible to install any system outside or inside the pipe. Every technology has unique features that need to be considered when installing it. Because the cable’s larger surface will be in contact with the pipe, heat transfer will increase, so models with a flattened cross-section are preferable for external construction. There is a wide range of power available, ranging from 10 to 60 watts per linear meter.

Outdoor installation

Since this method is more practical, cable for heating water pipes from the outside is most frequently laid. It can be done independently, the pipe’s diameter remains unchanged, and replacements can always be made in the event that a malfunction occurs while it’s operating.

If you have invested in a powerful enough cable, it needs to be wrapped around the pipe and fastened with specialized tape. If you reside in a region with a moderate climate, this technology is appropriate for you. The cable can be laid in a wave pattern to increase the area of contact and thermal efficiency just in case. Thermal insulation should then be used to safeguard the pipe and cable.

A cable for heating the water pipe is a common way to prevent freezing these days. You can learn how to install it by reading through the article. It is preferable to use an installation that entails tightly wrapping the pipe with a cable in 5 cm increments when insulating systems in harsh climates. The space between the coils needs to be kept at this length.

When you get to the end of the pipe, you should wind the resistive single core cable in the opposite direction. Applying the same scotch tape in multiple locations is recommended for fixing. Aluminum foil ought to be the foundation for its creation.

Using a heating cable to heat water pipes requires tightly wrapping the tape around the wire until it is fully covered. This will prevent overheating and damage to the insulation by serving as an extra layer of thermal insulation between the insulation and the cable.

Installing the heating cable on the sewer pipe

Common wires with programmable electrical resistance are used as heating cables.

Crucial! Only the outside of sewage pipes can be fixed with cable. There are two ways to install it:

There are two ways to install it:

  • along the pipe in the form of one or more parallel lines;
  • around the pipe as a spiral (provided the cable length allows).

Step 1: To guarantee even heating of the whole surface, the pipe is first wrapped in foil.

Step 2: Dense, heat-resistant tape is used to secure the cable.

Crucial! There should be no tying of the resistive cable! This is something that only self-regulating cable can handle; it won’t burn out.

Step 3: Using the same heat-resistant tape, the temperature sensor is fixed and thermal and waterproof insulation is installed.

Step 4: A marking is added to the top of everything to show where the heating cable should be placed on the main line.

Even in the most severe frosts, if these instructions are followed precisely, the liquid in the pipes won’t freeze.

How to connect the cable

Fitting the heating wire in

Step 1: First, the cable is wrapped with heat-shrink tubing. Next, clean one end of the cable, one centimeter from the braid and five centimeters from the sheath. After being isolated from insulation, wires are cleaned.

Step 2: Using tweezers, carefully place an additional, smaller-diameter tube on each wire and heat it with an assembly hair dryer. The ends of the wires are stripped, twisted, put into a metal tube, and clamped.

Step 3: The supply cable is divided into separate wires and its sheath is removed, leaving 8 cm of exposed wire. With one exception, all of the wires are cut to 3.5 cm; this will result in an 8-centimeter ground connection. They are all deburred by 0.6 cm after that.

Step 4: Connect the supply wires to the heating wires. They are heated and clamped in a small heat-shrinkable tube with an iron sleeve for this purpose. Thermally resistant tape is used to insulate all connections.

Step 5: A larger diameter pipe is used to close the connection.

Types and characteristics of heating cable

The two main categories of water heating cables are resistive and self-regulating, the latter of which is relatively new to the market and differs greatly from conventional devices in several important ways.

Every kind of cable has a mechanism in place to control the sheath’s temperature in response to the heated medium’s temperature. As the heated medium’s temperature rises, less current flows through the circuit, allowing for the conservation of energy and selection of the appropriate thermal mode.

The primary attribute shared by all electric heating cables is their power consumption per running meter, which determines the maximum temperature at which the shell can be heated.

Fig. 7: Layout of various single-core cable types


* In addition to the heating cable, the following accessories are typically needed for the full installation of a heating circuit:* Connection piece for the heating cable; * Cold leads; * Accessories for fixing the heating cable; * Insulation grommets; * Warning signs labeled "Electric heating" It might also be necessary to add more accessories: * Connection/junction box* Heating cable connection piece *Mounting brackets and mounting plates for the junction box *Control devices


* Assemble the heating cable connections before connecting to the power supply.* Install the connection boxes so that they are easily accessible.* When positioning the connection boxes, the threaded entries for the supply cable and heating cable must not point upwards.* When installing the connections, make sure to use existing cable routes wherever possible.* The connection box should remain closed as long as possible during installation to prevent the ingress of dirt and moisture.* By measuring the insulation resistance and loop resistance, check the correct installation of the connection technology and the functioning of the heating circuit.* After mounting the boxes, it is necessary to check:* whether suitable and approved screw connections and plugs are used and whether they are mounted correctly* whether the screw connections and plugs fit well* whether the housing is well fastened to the mounting bracket


It’s crucial to keep our houses warm and comfortable, particularly in the winter. A dependable heating system is one of the essential elements that keeps an interior space comfortable. Heating cables for plastic pipes are becoming more and more well-liked as heating options because of how simple and effective they are to install.

A heating cable is a wire that is powered by electricity and is flexible. When electricity flows through it, heat is produced. These heating cables keep plastic pipes from freezing in cold weather when placed along them. This guards against potential freezing-related damage to the pipes and guarantees a continuous supply of water.

Homeowners with some basic do-it-yourself knowledge can easily install a heating cable for plastic pipes. You can install a heating system that will consistently ward off freezing with the correct equipment and advice, guaranteeing that your house stays toasty and useful all winter long.

Topic Heating cable for plastic pipes and its installation
Description A guide to using heating cables with plastic pipes to prevent freezing and ensure efficient heating.

Laying technology for pipe heating cables

Heating cables for water supply heating systems that are based on the resistive principle are inexpensive and made to keep the liquid’s operating temperature at +5, which is more than enough for a reliable and efficient water supply system.

Plugging the pipe heating cable into the network

The necessary cable length and the power to be supplied to the heating system must be determined when designing a cable heating system for water pipes. The diameter of the water supply pipes, the system’s depth, the length of the heated mains, the local climate, and the water pipes’ degree of thermal insulation are all important considerations.

Keep in mind that, for instance, the necessary heating power is directly impacted by the wall thickness of water supply pipes.

Water pipes’ thick walls do a far better job of holding the working fluid’s temperature.

Cable water heating systems are relatively easy to install. The heating cable is fastened to the water pipe using self-adhesive aluminum tape, which serves as thermal insulation in addition to its other purpose.

During installation, pay special attention to the heating cable’s state. Due to its high sensitivity to damage, resistive cable cannot be installed by crossing or overlapping it. This might lead to their failure.

Another change to the water pipe heating cable is the use of self-regulating cables, which are less vulnerable to breakage and crossings.

Thermal insulation is applied to the structure after the heating cable is installed, and in certain situations, an extra waterproofing layer is required. Important sections of the water supply system have thermal sensors installed. They are merely adhered to the pipe’s surface using adhesive tape.

An illustration of the installation of a pipe heating cable

Heating cables can become brittle and stiff during installation in cold weather. In this instance, adding the cable to the network is permitted for specific modifications made to cable heating systems. The system will get the required adaptability, allowing you to freely install it across the whole water supply system.

The heating element of the cable heating system can be installed inside water pipes in addition to being installed externally. In this instance, there is a slight increase in complexity to the installation process; however, the efficiency of this kind of system more than offsets these new challenges.

The majority of the time, internal installation of cable water heating systems is utilized to maintain the functionality of intricate plumbing parts like pumps and faucets. This kind of heating system can be turned on by a separate controller or thermostat and can run either permanently or momentarily.

Water supply units with internal cable heating systems can use electrical energy more efficiently since the liquid passing through them is heated directly rather than by the surrounding environment or the walls of the water pipe.

You can guarantee affordable, year-round water supply operation by using cable water heating systems. The water supply system won’t need parts that need to be replaced annually in the spring. Both the brutal frosts of baptism and the sweltering summer days will be suitable for using your water supply system.

Design and application methods

Tanks, sewer and water pipes, and drains can all be heated with heating cables, depending on their kind and technical specs. The primary goal is to raise the temperature so as to prevent the liquid from freezing. For usage in the ground or outdoors, heating systems are pertinent to outdoor communications.

The cable’s ability to transform electricity into heat is what keeps it operating. As opposed to power analogs, the wire itself cannot transfer energy. Only after receiving it does it transfer the heat to the pipe (flume, chute, tank, etc.).

One practical feature of heating systems is zonal application. This implies that, without connecting to the entire network, you can take a collection of components and build a mini-system for heating a different area out of them. Savings on materials and energy are achieved. In reality, 200-meter windings and tiny "heaters" measuring 15-20 cm can both be encountered.

The following are the heating cable’s primary parts:

  • Inner core – one or more. Alloys with high electrical resistance are used for its production. The higher it is, the greater the value of specific heat generation.
  • Polymer protective sheath. Together with the plastic insulation, an aluminum screen or copper wire mesh is used.
  • Robust outer sheath PVC, covering all internal elements.

The subtle differences between the offers from various manufacturers may include the protection device design or the alloy of the core.

More dependability is attributed to shielded varieties with foil protection and two or three cores rather than one. Single-core products are an affordable choice that work well for assembling systems for short sections of water pipe.

The thickness of the outer layer is increased and the copper braid is nickel-plated to enhance its properties. Furthermore, the PVC material needs to be resistant to moisture and UV rays.

Heating cables for plastic pipes are a game-changer when it comes to keeping your house warm during the winter. By encircling your pipes, these cables protect them from freezing or burst during chilly weather. They are simple to install; all you have to do is wrap the cable around the pipe and fasten it with tape or zip ties. You can avoid expensive repairs and the inconvenience of dealing with frozen pipes by adding this small addition. It also guarantees even heating throughout your house, which makes winters much more comfortable.

Install the heating cable inside the pipe

Once the water heating system’s foundation is ready, you can safely move on to the main task. It is required of the novice to install everything so as to prevent unforeseen heat losses. The installation process is executed within the sewer system, considering the necessity of forming the necessary degree of resistance.

You install the pipe yourself in the beginning. Depending on the local climate, it can be done in an open or closed manner.

Following that, the cable needs to be fixed to the pipe’s surface. Since the heating wire can be installed inside or outside, there isn’t much of a choice in this situation.

The subsequent sequence of events is as follows:

  1. The choice of the location of the cable depends largely on the climatic features of the region. For example, if we are talking about year-round use, in this case it is necessary to fix the heat source inside the hose. It is recommended to do the same if the average temperature of the warmest month does not exceed -19C.
  2. Regardless of the position, the warm Merlin wire is mounted in several rows. The optimal way is considered a spiral design. As a shock absorber, a plastic tape or a mesh made of metal is used.

As previously stated, each step is dictated by the specifics of the operating environment in addition to the ultimate objective. For instance, good heating in the summer and winter will provide a cord placed inside the hose if the weather outside the window is unhappy with warm days for the majority of the year.

Heating wire laying technology

Both inside and outside of the pipeline, self-regulating cable is installed for pipe heating. Temperatures above -5°C are ideal for work because lower temperatures run the risk of damaging the polymer’s protective layer. The wire is carefully unwound from the coil and left connected to the power source for a few minutes until it regains its flexibility if it has lost it at low temperatures. You can then begin the installation process.

Peculiarities of internal installation

This technique of installing heating cables is applied to pipelines with a maximum diameter of 50 mm, where direct access is not feasible. In this instance, the self-regulating wire is inserted the whole length of the pipe inside. For entry, a unique gland assembly comprising of two bushings, two washers, and rubber seals is utilized.

Using a gland assembly, heat cable is placed inside the water pipe.

For internal heating of drinking water pipelines, only self-regulating pipe heating cable that has passed all food safety tests and has an outer sheath made of fluorine-containing polymer may be used.

  1. The length of the electric cable must fully coincide with the length of the pipeline.
  2. It is forbidden to lay self-regulating wire through shut-off valves.
  3. Be sure to mark the location of the heating system on the pipe.
  4. Cable insertion must be carried out with special care – the outer sheath must not be damaged.
  5. During insertion, all sharp edges of the fittings must be covered with factory tape.

Peculiarities of external installation

The self-regulating heating cable for pipe heating is laid externally and placed on the pipeline’s surface in a few different ways:

  • Linearly (along the pipe in a single line). This method is used for small diameter pipelines;
  • Parallel (two or three cables are laid along the pipe). This option is acceptable for a large pipe diameter or when a large power is needed, if the main line is located in open areas;
  • Spiral (the pipe is "wrapped" by the cable in a spiral). The pitch of the coil depends on the cable parameters, the diameter of the pipeline and the required power;
  • Wavy line. This method is relevant if the standard cable length is not sufficient for laying by the above mentioned methods. The self-regulating property of the heating cable allows it to be laid overlapping to heat the external stop valve.

When external laying, particular attention is given to the locations where the pipeline connects to valves, flanges, elbows, and other components to prevent wire interference with their operation and to prevent mechanical damage (rubbing, compression-stretching). Using aluminum tape, the electric cable is firmly secured to the pipeline.

After that, the pipe is thermally insulated to prevent heat loss and guarantee the heating system runs smoothly.

The connection to the 220-240 V network is only regulated by an RCD when using heating cable for pipes.

What is self-regulating cable

A novel invention is the self-regulating cable, a flexible wire that warms up when electricity is applied to it. It also possesses the ability to control its own power in response to the ambient temperature. In other words, the self-regulating cable gets hotter in a colder environment. It does not adjust over the course of its length; rather, it does so as if it were a self-regulating cable.

The self-regulating heating cable’s internal design determines how it functions. It is divided roughly into three sections:

Its multi-layered design offers superior protection and resistance to impacts.

  • Metal conductors – provide the electricity supply;
  • "Smart" polymer matrix – it is it that adapts to changing conditions and generates heat;
  • Insulation – a whole "sandwich" of several materials is used here.

This is where a polymer matrix comes into play. The self-regulating qualities stem from this. And each and every centimeter of it has an independent existence.

In other words, a section may be hotter or colder than another. And all of this is done with just a polymer base of "smart" material—no electronics, sensors, or anything else.

Another intriguing feature of self-regulating heating cable for plumbing is its arbitrary length. It can be cut with strong scissors and then plugged back in; it will function as if nothing had happened. It doesn’t really matter how long a millimeter is because it all works here. In contrast to Christmas lights, it will keep working even if it breaks unintentionally. Nonetheless, the self-regulating heating cable’s construction is sturdy enough to guard against unintentional breaks.

Other characteristics of heating cable that regulates itself:

Because the cable itself is made of "smart" polymer, it controls power consumption, allowing you to save a lot of money on electricity.

  • High mechanical strength – it works from electricity, which means it needs a strong multi-layer insulation;
  • Resistant to moisture – it works safely in the water column. The main thing is to insulate its final part with a special heat shrink film;
  • Economical power consumption – provided due to self-regulating properties (up to complete shutdown).

The self-regulating heating cable’s multiple layers guarantee its longevity. Copper conductors and a "smart" polymer comprise the first two layers. On top of them is an insulating layer made of fluoropolymer or polyolefin.

The next layer, which is made of copper braiding, serves as armor. Our "sandwich" is finished with an additional layer of polyolefin insulation. The self-regulating heating cable is incredibly robust and long-lasting thanks to its design.

In addition, the copper braid serves as a weak but effective shield against electromagnetic radiation.

Advantages of electric water supply heating

  1. The heating of the water supply system maintains a stable water temperature.
  2. The water supply system will not accumulate impurities that have a lower freezing system.
  3. Stagnation and crystallization of solid fractions are prevented.
  4. The water supply system will maintain a stable hot water temperature.
  5. The passage of viscous liquids through the water supply system is facilitated.
  6. The water supply system will work without interruption.
  7. The outer surface of water pipes will not be covered with condensation and ice.
  8. Cable heating system allows you not to bury the water pipes of your house deep into the ground.
  9. Electric heating of the water supply system will allow not to carry out its repair at the end of the winter period.

Thus, there is unquestionably a benefit to installing an electric heating system in the water supply pipes. Not only is it affordable for the owner, but even a homeowner without advanced technological skills can install and place the system, which is another satisfying feature.

To begin with, you must select the heating technology that works best for you and comprehend how water supply systems are heated by electricity.

Water pipe heating cable structure

The most common, affordable, and practical way to heat an outdoor water supply system is most likely the cable method. The basic idea is to run a special cable the length of the water main, which heats both the liquid and the main itself. The heating cable can be installed in one of two ways: either straight down the water pipe or coiled around the pipes that supply water. The technical specifications of the cable heating systems and the homeowner’s preferences determine where the heating cables should be installed.

Generally speaking, cable systems for heating water supplies comprise the following fundamental components:

  • starting systems located in the control cabinet,
  • aluminum tape insulating the heating system,
  • material for thermal insulation of the water supply,
  • heating cable,
  • temperature level controller.

However, depending on the equipment and technical features, cable water heating systems may have different equipment. Therefore, the presence of a special temperature regulator is not required if the system has a resistive two-core self-regulating heating cable. The degree of heating in such a cable is automatically detected when it is connected to the power system using a specific connecting element.

How to make a heating cable with your own hands.

Although heating cables are available for purchase in retail stores, you should be aware of their high price. However, if you have some technical know-how, you could try creating a heating cable by hand using a different kind of material.

Skilled artisans advise that the best alternative to the branded heating cable is the so-called "polewick" power telephone cable, which is made for the military-field communication device and has the official marking P-274M. It has good and dependable insulation, is thin, stiff, strong enough, and suitable for use in damp environments.

It goes without saying that the homemade heating cable system will be devoid of certain features, such as unique food insulation and self-regulating capability. You can do without the above practical features if it will only function infrequently (for instance, when turned on occasionally at the dacha, which is not permanently occupied during the winter but only visits occasionally) and if the cable is laid outside of the pipe rather than inside.

It is preferable to weave the "fielder" into two wires when installing it inside the water pipe to avoid exposing the cores at the end. Subsequently, the lone wire is folded in half and then twisted once more. A hermetic entry should be made at the two exposed ends of the wire; this can be done by building it out of a flexible water supply line flange. For this reason, the socket with the wires inserted inside should be filled with epoxy glue and slightly flattened. The union nut will enable to tighten the connection well. The inlet needs to be extremely airtight and should not allow in a drop of moisture.

Unraveling the "fielder" is not required if the cable is intended to be placed on top of the pipe; instead, connect the wires at the other end of the heated area. Enough insulation needs to be used on the connection.

Tightly attach the wire to the surface. The cable-containing pipe should first be covered with foil. Next, wrap the tape over the foil, pressing the cable against the heated base. After that, mineral wool or another type of insulation is wrapped around everything.

This allows for the arrangement of heating for both the sewage system and the water supply. The "fielder’s" current force shouldn’t be greater than 9A.

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Using a thermostat

Self-regulating cables typically have thresholds that range from 3 to 13 degrees Celsius. This indicates that the heating is turned on at a lower reading and off at an upper reading.

The water for the shower and column is already heated by the boiler, so there’s no need to heat it for the toilet.

Thus, using a thermostat has several benefits, one of which being extending the life of the cable, a finite resource. Setting the cut-off temperature to 5–6 degrees is preferable.

There are benefits to using a thermoregulator, and any skilled home craftsman can install one on their own. However, it is preferable to regulate the temperature for a predetermined period of time before choosing the installation and purchase.

The placement of the sensor should be taken into consideration when installing this device. It ought to display data regarding the pipe’s water temperature.

To obtain accurate adjustments, it is necessary to rule out the heater’s influence on the device.

Device and types of self-regulating heating cables

Resistive and self-regulating cables are the two types of pipes cables that are actively used nowadays.

A thermorelay is installed in the heater’s control circuit to allow for regulation, allowing the heating level to be adjusted. It is feasible to use a warm floor device for this purpose.

It is composed of a conductor encased in strong insulation and protected by a plastic hermetic inner sheath. A colored thread, serving as a sort of marking or identifying feature, is inserted inside. The sheath is covered in a braid of tinned copper wire that serves as a barrier for protection. The polymer used to make the outer sheath is resistant.

When winding over the pipe, resistive heating cable has a peculiarity in that it must not cross over itself. Mutual influence inevitably occurs in areas of contact, leading to localized overheating and the possibility of the device burning out.

Resistive cables come in single or double core varieties. The latter are a little more costly, but because they need an easier connection, they are utilized more frequently. A two-core heater can be connected to a 220-volt socket using a regular euro plug if a single-core heater needs to be powered from both ends.

The inability to cut single-core cables to the necessary length—it will not function in this form—is their second drawback. The entire length of a longer conductor must be used if one is purchased.

The operating principle of a self-regulating heater is entirely different.

Its heat source is a matrix that has two wire cores passing through it installed inside. When current passes through the wires, the matrix material has the characteristic of producing heat on its own.

Furthermore, the heat source heats up less when the surrounding temperature rises and vice versa. Its ability to control its own temperature is how it got its name.

The following are self-regulating wire’s advantages:

  • its undemanding intersections during laying, they do not lead to local overheating and failure;
  • They may be cut to obtain the required length, but this is done according to special marks on the outer sheath. After cutting off, mandatory installation of the termination coupling is required.

One of the drawbacks is the high price. However, considering the lengthy service life—more than ten years—if installed and used correctly.

Water supply equipment with heaters is generally becoming more conventional.

Where heating systems are used

Heating cables have a wide range of applications, not just for pipes. They are placed in locations where it is necessary to regulate the heating of nearby surfaces or materials.

Certain kinds of cable are made specifically to work with "warm floor" systems. They are placed beneath carpets, laminate flooring, ceramic tiles, planks, and occasionally, concrete screeds. Due to the fact that the screed "steals" heat and only partially transmits it through the finish coating, this last option is the least efficient.

Diagram showing the "warm floor" system’s heating cable location in the bathroom. The wire is arranged in a "snake" pattern throughout the room, with its two ends in opposing corners.

Water and sewer systems frequently use heated cables. In the northern regions of Russia, communications passing through the ground or buried there are susceptible to total freezing for six months of the year, from October to April. The pipeline will rapidly cease to function if it is installed above the freezing point of the earth and is not adequately insulated.

Replacing the thermal insulation "cocoon" will be aided by a heating cable that is fixed to the pipe. There are various installation techniques; the two most popular ones are spiral and linear installation. The second extends over a sizable portion of the pipe.

Installing the cable inside the water (sewer) pipe through a tee cut into the most convenient location is done if the pipes are already buried in trenches and dismantling is either impossible or undesirable.

Gutter and roof heating systems are the next use for self-regulating cable.

On the edges of the roof, in trays and gutters, and in downpipes, wires are fixed in a specific manner. They stop ice from forming, which ruins drainage systems.

Elevated temperatures cause snow and ice to gradually melt into water that seeps through trays and pipes. Roofs in the yard become safe for people and cars.

For those who dislike fogged windows and mirrors, a useful application of heating cables is to install samrega on the back of the mirror, which will eliminate condensation.

Heating is frequently required in manufacturing and during construction to help "mature" concrete mortars.

A unique temperature regime must be established in order to guarantee that the final product’s properties satisfy the requirements. For this reason, evenly distribute self-regulating cables in the area where the mortar will be poured, and use the armature to secure them. When they cure, they stay inside the building.

Liquids, which are also utilized to maintain a specific temperature, operate similarly in this regard. The properties of chemical or food solutions do not change immediately because a cable is lowered into a tank filled with technical liquid rather than heated in the conventional manner.

The agricultural sector has also not been excluded from the use of heating systems. In order to prevent crop roots from freezing, the cable is buried directly beneath the top layer of nutrients.

The plumbing system in your house can be kept at ideal temperatures and kept from freezing during the winter by installing a heating cable for plastic pipes. This straightforward but inventive technology makes sure that water flows continuously, lowering the possibility of burst pipes and possible water damage.

The adaptability of heating cables is one of their main benefits. It’s a sensible option for both new construction and plumbing system retrofitting because it’s simple to install on a variety of plastic pipe types. It’s an easy installation that takes very little knowledge and equipment.

Additionally, heating cables are energy-efficient because they only use as much power as is required to maintain the proper temperature in the pipes. This lessens the impact of your home heating system on the environment in addition to lowering energy costs.

To sum up, a heating cable for plastic pipes provides a dependable and affordable way to shield your plumbing system from below-freezing temperatures. For any homeowner hoping to protect their home from the chill of winter, it’s a wise investment due to its simplicity of installation, adaptability, and energy efficiency.

Video on the topic

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Self-regulating heating cable and its installation inside the pipe

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Installation of a heating cable for pipe heating

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Sergey Ivanov

I like to help people create comfort and comfort in their homes. I share my experience and knowledge in articles so that you can make the right choice of a heating and insulation system for your home.

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