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How to Use Heat Tape on PVC Pipe [Answered]

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

In the winter season, PVC pipes wouldn’t be enough to keep them from freezing. Heat tape, on the other hand, keeps temperatures down.

How to use heat tape on PVC Pipe?

Begin by putting one layer of heating tape around the pipe. You may also wrap the heating tape around the pipe’s parent. To keep the heating tape in place, use electrical tape. See the manufacturer’s instructions about heating tape for additional distance information.

Well, this is just a sneak peek of what I got here. To get more insights follow my lead till the end. 

Why wait any longer? Let’s dive in!

Heat Tapes

Like protecting the PVC pipe capping off, you need another heat tape protection to avoid freezing.

Heat tape is the most used method to protect pipes from freezing in sub-zero temperatures. Heat tape is not a sticky material in the traditional sense.

It is a straightforward resistive heat-conducting flexible wire that generates heat via the use of electricity. This heat source is placed near your vulnerable water lines to keep them from freezing.

Perfect Places to Install Heat Tapes

Heat tape should only be used on an exposed pipe outside your house. The most common locations are the drainage systems and drain pipes between the ground and the basement.

Essentials you need

Using heat tapes will prevent PVC pipes from freezing. But you need a few essentials to complete the procedure:

  • Wrap heat tape or braid around water lines at 6′′ to 8′′ intervals
  • Electricity supply (GFCI outlet, extension cord)
  • Tape made of PVC and electrical tape
  • Insulation for pipes made of fiberglass
  • Wrap in a vapor seal
  • Measurement tape
  • Knife and Scissors
  • Eye protection, gloves, and a mask
  • Cleaning supplies for your pipe (rag with cleaner)

How to Measure Heat Tapes

There are different types of PVC pipes. Your pipe’s diameter and material are utilized to determine how much heat tape you’ll need. 

For example, an 18-inch-long 1/2-inch copper pipe needs around 24 inches of heat tape:

Product 1
Product 2

Hopefully, the items that have been mentioned may be of use to you in your job.

Installation Process on PVC Pipe

A mobile home’s plumbing is frequently a few feet below ground. If your house has a low crawl area, the installation may be complex. 

Installing heat tape, on the other hand, isn’t difficult. For people familiar with regular DIY house tasks, we give it a 6 out of 10 rating.

Heat tape only lasts 3 years. Most heat tape manufacturers recommend replacing them every 3 years. 

Heat tape is constantly exposed to water and electricity. It isn’t effectively shielded from the environment.

Parallel Installation

There are two techniques to apply heat tape to a pipe. The first one is parallel installation. The heat tape is placed on the pipe in a smooth, flat line with no curves.

Make sure the heat tape is on the side that will be exposed to the weather. This applies if you’re planning to use this method underneath your mobile home.

Spiral Wrap Installation

The second method includes wrapping heat tape in spirals around the water line at short intervals. 

If the water pipes are vertical, this is a superior installation approach. It is exposed to the exterior on more than one side. 

In the below, you can see a bright green line going parallel to the pipe. The swirly lines on the second pipe depict the heat tape. 

The black lines are the tape that binds the heat tape to the pipe.

Wrap Heat Tape with Insulation

If the heat tape manufacturer advises it, put insulation over it after you’ve fitted it. Ensure that it will keep it as dry as possible. You can use lubricant for dry fitting.

Insulating heat tape makes it easy to maintain a consistent temperature. It protects it from harm. In 99 percent of cases, fiberglass insulation is the sole option. 

Fiberglass is safer than other insulating materials like foam sleeves since it has stronger fire resistance. 

To use heat tape to cover fiberglass wrap around a pipe, start at one end. Then, wrap the waterline, taking caution not to make the wraps too tight.

Installing Vapor Seal

The last step in the heat tape install process is the vapor or moisture seal. A moisture barrier is placed in the same manner as insulation. 

Except that the plastic wrapping is oriented in the other way. You’re aiming for a snug uniform fit that isn’t overly tight. 

You want to make sure that the insulation is protected from the surroundings. When fiberglass insulation becomes wet, it loses its potency.

Is It Safe to Use Heat Tape on PVC Pipe?

Because self-regulating heat tapes don’t become very hot, they can’t defrost pipes. Install them on your pipes well before the first freeze. 

Self-regulating heat tapes activate when the temperature dips below 40-38 degrees. This may be addressed if householders obeyed the following advice:

  • Make sure the extension cable you’re using to power your heat tape is waterproof.
  • Only use heat tapes that have been authorized by the UL.
  • A grounding or three-prong plug should be included with heat tape.
  • Heat tape should never be used within walls, floors, or ceilings. Outside is the only place where heat tape must be used.
  • Heat tapes should be applied to the pipe that has to be cooled. Wrap heat tape around the pipe rather than the insulator.
  • Use fiberglass or similar non-flammable material if you decide to add protection. Insulation made of foam or vinyl should not be utilized.
  • Heat tape should never be attached to metal pipes.
  • Annually inspect any heat tapes and electrical wiring.

A damaged or leaky pipe flooding your house with water is disastrous. During severely cold temperatures, unprotected or even shielded pipes freeze. 

Overexposure to temps below zero might create issues. Heat tape may make a difference between a trouble-free cold season and frozen pipes.

FAQs

Question: Can I wrap Heat Tape around PVC pipe?

Answer: Heat tape should not be used to cover leaky pipes. A gradual leak will not only harm the insulation.

Question: Does PVC crack out when it’s frozen?

Answer: When PVC is filled with water, sealed, and put in a cold climate, it seldom cracks.

Question: Should I turn on the heat tape all the time?

Answer: These tapes are particularly engineered to create heat. So it won’t create any electricity if you plug it in all the time.

Bottom Line

That was all I knew about how to use heat tape on PVC pipe. I hope you’ve figured out what the problem is now.

To prevent any problems, strictly follow all of the instructions stated. However, if you are still unable to do so, get advice from a qualified person.

Use caution while applying heat tape on the PVC pipe.

Good Luck!