Self-Regulating Heating Cable

All Heat-Line products employ self-regulating heating cable technology. The benefit of self-regulating heating cable technology is that unlike constant wattage heat tape, resistance wires or zone heaters there is no worry about under heating or overheating. More importantly self-regulating heating cable technology when properly installed is more energy efficient and provides a greater life expectancy. Self-regulating heating cables automatically adjust their heat (energy) output at each point (microscopically) along their length. As the surrounding temperature (water or air) increases, Heat-Line products automatically decrease their heat (energy) output, and vice versa. Heat is safely and efficiently supplied more in the colder areas when/ as required. The overall result is cost-effective operation and long-term product reliability which reduces the need for costly maintenance.

Energy Saving Tips

To make your Heat-Line heating cable system more energy efficient, consider the following:

  • THERMOSTAT (pipe heat tracing)
  • TIMER (pipe or roof de-icing) 
  • SNOW MELT CONTROL (roof de-icing)
  • PIPE INSULATION (on all areas above ground or on entire pipe for new installations)

To better understand the importance of a thermostat, timer and insulation, you must first appreciate the technology of the heating cable employed in all Heat-Line systems:


120 volt thermostat for heat cableWith Heat-Line self-regulating heating cables, thermostats are not a requirement but simply an accessory to increase energy efficiency. Thermostats are optional because Heat-Line systems can never over heat. However, just because a thermostat is not a requirement does not mean one should be over looked.

It is important to understand that while self-regulating technology is very efficient; the heating cable can never completely turn off and as a result is always a consumer of energy when powered (turned on or plugged in directly).

A thermostat can be added to the system in order to duty cycle the product ON and OFF to maintain a certain pipe temperature. Heat-Line thermostats are pre-set to maintain the pipe at 50°F (10°C) as this setting keeps the heating cable operating in its most efficient state with a proper safety differential of 18°F or 10°C to the freezing point.

Thermostats can be efficiently used for any length of heating cable but it is highly recommended a thermostat is considered for any length over 50ft (15m).

For further information on Heat-Line thermostats go to the Thermostat product page. 



120 volt 240 volt timer for heating cableSimilar to thermostats, timers are not required to operate Heat-Line systems as they are assembled with Heat-Line’s advanced self-regulating heating cables. Although Heat-Line would generally recommend a thermostat as a first option for saving energy, thermostats cannot always be used given certain application parameters. A timer however can be added to increase your energy efficiency as the system will duty cycle based on the preset inputs.

Timers can be efficiently used for any length of heating cable but it is highly recommended a timer be incorporated for any length greater than 50ft (15m) where a thermostat cannot be employed.

For further information on Heat-Line timers go to the Timer product page. 


Snow Melt Controls

snow melt control for roof de-icingIn roof and gutter de-icing applications thermostats and timers are not the best option for increased energy efficiency and control. A more common method of control is to employ a snow melt controller which can be operated based on many factors including snow/rain fall, air moisture content, temperature, and blowing or melting snow/ice. Examples of snow melting controls that Heat-Line offers is the LCD-8 Configurable Snow Sensor, PD-PRO Controller, and GF-PRO Controller.

Snow Melt Controls are generally recommended for large scale residential and any commercial/ industrial roof de-icing applications.

For further information on Snow Melt Controls offered by Heat-Line go to the Heat-Line Roof De-icing Accessories product page. 



Other Control Devices

Only Heat-Line systems can be used with other certified control devices such as logic controllers to help with energy efficiency. For these applications consult Heat-Line for further information.


Pipe Insulation

polyethylene insulation sleeve for pipeOne extremely important feature of self-regulating heating cables is the fact they can be thermally insulated without fear of overheating. The use of insulation immensely reduces the required amount of heat (energy) required to keep a pipe from freezing. A thermally insulated pipe is not as susceptible to freezing and erratic changes in the environments temperature. The insulation creates greater thermal consistency throughout the pipe and increases the efficiency of all Heat-Line products.

Remember how self-regulating heating cables work? The heating cable has the ability to vary its power output in response to temperature at every point along its circuit. As the temperature (water or air) gets colder, the heating cable automatically increases heat (energy) output in that area. As the water or air warms, the heat cable automatically reduces heat (energy) output. Now imagine insulation on your pipes. The insulation will help retain the heat inside the pipe so the heating cable will draw less energy to maintain that section of pipe from freezing. Would you put the best heat furnace in the world in your home and then not insulate the exterior walls? The answer is no. So why wouldn’t you insulate your pipes if you have the option?

Heat-Line offers closed cell polyethylene sleeves which are ¾ inch and 1 inch thick. This insulation works well as it insulates around the entire pipe and is quickly and easily installed. This insulation conserves energy and when used in conjunction with Heat-Line systems has been proven to keep water flowing in pipes above ground in temperatures below -40°C.

For further information on insulation offered by Heat-Line go to the Heat-Line Insulation product page. 


Combining a Thermostat with Insulation

pipe insulation thermostat and timerCombining the use of a thermostat and pipe insulation with Heat-Line products is how you will truly begin to CONSERVE ENERGY!

When the thermostat sensor lead is located on the pipe under the insulation the thermostat will duty cycle the heating cable ON and OFF as required to maintain a certain pipe temperature.

The insulated pipe causes the system to come on periodically for short periods of time saving you up to as much as 80% in energy depending on application variables and amount and type of insulation used. The heating cable will remain off for extended periods of time because of the thermal insulation; this is how you conserve energy.

When installing a new heating cable or researching how to make your current Heat-Line system more efficient, it is important to consider both thermostats and pipe insulation.




If you have any questions on the use of thermostats, timers, snow controls or insulation with your particular application, contact Heat-Line to speak with an application specialist. 1-800-584-4944