Some process equipment needs special attention in winter to ensure freeze protection or maintain proper flow. Because the heating equipment -heat tracing, for example - may not be needed during the warmer months, it can be overlooked until it’s time to use it. Did you find yourself in this situation? If so, here are nine tips from Tyco Thermal Controls, Menlo Park, Calif., to help maintain your electric heat tracing.
  1. Maintain - and update - installation and maintenance records. Complete documentation will allow you to verify completed system tests, original electrical values and performance changes.

  2. Check heat tracing components. Damaged components can result in water ingress, corrosion, or the loosening of electrical connections.

  3. Check your insulation. Insulation plays a critical role in the overall heat tracing system. Also, perform an insulation resistance test on all heat tracing circuits.

  4. Check your power distribution panel and secondary wire and conduit. Visually inspect the conduit distribution system for openings in the conduit, damaged or missing components, or low-point drains.

  5. Test all ground-fault breakers according to the manufacturers’ instructions.

  6. Check your thermostat or control system. They allow you to run automatic tests and capture alarm and fault information, which is useful if troubleshooting your heat tracing system becomes necessary.

  7. Energize each heat trace circuit to ensure that no short circuits or ground faults exist and that RTDs are functioning properly.

  8. Stock critical spare components and cable. If your system still fails after all your checks, stocking spare components and cable will allow for timely repairs or replacements.

  9. Don’t wait until winter to check your electric heat tracing system! Or if you have, don’t skip maintenance checks just because you “don’t have the time now.”
Happy heating in the New Year.

Linda Becker, Associate Publisher and Editor,