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The first application of nVent RAYCHEM self-regulating technology more than 50 years ago was to keep water pipes from freezing. Now more than 50 years and hundreds of thousands of applications worldwide later, pipe freeze protection is still one of the primary applications of self-regulating technology. Available in a range of nominal power outputs, how does one decide what is the right power self-regulating heating cable for my specific application and when does 3 Watts/ft make sense?

What Are The Design Considerations?

When designing a pipe freeze prevention system here are some of the factors that must be considered

  1. How cold will it get in my area (minimum ambient temperature?
  2. What is my pipe material (Plastic or metal)
  3. What is my insulation type and thickness
  4. How long is the pipe length to be protected
  5. What are my power supply options (Voltage and Circuit breaker size)

Design Tools

Fortunately, both manual and software tools are available to help simplify the design process. In addition, these tools will help you decide which insulation, controls and accessories are needed to complete your project’s Bill of Materials

3 WATTS/FT Self-Regulating Heating Cable

3Watts/Ft is the lowest powered self-regulating pipe freeze prevention cable offered by Raychem. Other power ratings include 5,8 and 12 Watts per ft. However, 3 Watts/ft is often all the heat needed to keep pipes from freezing. If 3 Watts/ft works for your application it can deliver many valuable benefits

  • It’s energy efficient compared to 5 Watt/ft cables which can reduce your monthly energy costs.
  • 3Watt/ft cables are priced lower per foot than higher wattage output
  • Since it draws less current per foot of cable, circuit lengths can be significantly longer.
    • This can significantly reduce the total system cost for some projects. It is caused by reducing the total number of controllers, components, power drops, circuit breakers, etc. required.
    • In addition, this can significantly reduce your installation labor cost.

It’s interesting to note that in Europe the metric equivalent to 3 Watt/ft cables (10 Watts/meter) are far and away the most popular models sold!


To learn more about nVent Raychem 3 Watt/ft XL-Trace Edge and the entire XL-Trace Edge family please visit XL-Trace Edge Self-Regulating Heating Cable | nVent RAYCHEM
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