What is Trace Heating or Heat Trace?


Perhaps you’ve heard these terms and never really knew what they were, or perhaps you work with large piping systems and you know exactly what they mean. Either way, trace heating (sometimes referred to as heat trace) has been used in piping applications for a long time now.


heat trace tape on drain pipe to prevent freezing

Types of Heat Trace

The idea of electrical heat trace has been around since the 30s, the 1930s, that is. And although it wasn’t used until later (when the technology caught up to the idea) it has, nonetheless, been around for a long time. With that said, the technology still has many viable uses.

One of the main arenas in which trace heating is used still today is in large piping applications. In the oil and gas industry trace heating is applied to long stretches of pipe where freeze protection and hydrate control are a big priority.

Trace heating is also used in many other applications, such as floor heating, portable heat applications, and even large snow-melt systems. In many cases trace heating can prove a very practical solution. However, in other cases, there may be an even better option.


Heat trace applications

A More Efficient Heat Spread

When it comes to harnessing the capability of electrical heating, heat trace does a relatively good job. Electricity converts into heat energy at 100% efficiency. But that doesn’t mean that electrical heating apparatus is 100% efficient at its job. No, the electricity is 100%, but how that “electricity efficiency” is spread becomes the real game of numbers.

In a trace heating system, like those shown in the image to the left, the heat coils are interconnected in order to spread the heat throughout the system. But as you can see, they also leave a lot of gaps in between. This doesn’t translate into an even distribution of heat. Instead, it causes variances through the heating system.

Conversely, one particular, patented technology makes use of a much better means of electrical heat spread. Instead of relying upon heated coils that spread electric heat unevenly, this particular technology relies upon an ideal blend of heat conducting materials that allow for even and consistent heat distribution.


GreenHeat technology vs. Heat trace

When compared to trace heating, this technology outperforms it hands down. It simply offers better heat distribution without any variances. Take a look at the image to the right to get an idea of this concept. You can’t argue with imagery like this. Nonetheless, trace heating still has its uses, such as with heating extremely long stretches of oil piping, but when you need a heating solution that enables consistent, even, and regulated heat distribution, there’s a better answer.

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