Pipe Freeze Protection

Industrial heat trace systems prevent freezing of fluids in pipes for a variety of industrial applications and environments, including hazardous, nonhazardous, and steam cleanable areas.

Pipe Freeze Protection – A Complete Heat Management System Approach

nVent Thermal Management offers pipe freeze protection as a complete heat management system, which includes the selection of industrial heat trace technologies and advanced control system technologies, in addition to turnkey services.


Elements of Industrial Heat Trace Systems
  • Electric heat trace cables - Industrial heat trace cables maintain the temperature of non-flowing fluids by replacing the heat lost through the thermal insulation on pipes, vessels and associated equipment.
  • Advanced control systems - devices such as thermostats, controllers, and electric panels that monitor and/or control heat trace cables to help maintain the temperature of the fluid through a heat traced pipe.
  • Components and accessories - items for making electrical connections and properly completing the installation, such as end terminations, glass tape and warning labels.
We can supply the individual components, provide engineering design services, site services, and even install and maintain the entire system.

When our advanced products are combined with our services, you get an integrated solution that is strategically planned and executed for an optimum heat management system (HMS). By managing and executing all aspects of the heat trace system design and installation, we provide a single interface to your project team.

In sub-zero environments, a typical insulated pipe takes anywhere from a few hours to a few days for the stagnant liquid in the pipe to freeze. The time required depends on thermodynamic characteristics such as ambient temperature, pipe diameter, insulation type and thickness, heat transfer coefficients and type of liquid.


Water, and fluids containing significant water, expand as they freeze. This expansion can cause the pipe to break—leading to property damage or production loss, or jeopardizing personnel safety.

  • A frozen water pipe leading to a critical process—like a frozen pipe in waste water treatment plant or cooling tower can shut down the operation causing multi-million dollars of losses.
  • A frozen pipe to safety showers can jeopardize personnel safety in the event of hazardous chemical exposure.
Reliable Pipe Freeze Protection System

A heat trace cable replaces the heat lost through the insulation to maintain the pipe and fluid at temperatures above the freezing point. Thus, heat tracing is critical for pipe freeze protection systems that are expected to have stagnant fluids for prolonged durations.

nVent Thermal Management offers a variety of integrated technologies to meet your specific pipe freeze protection needs. We are the world leader in heat tracing solutions. We have sold over one billion feet of nVent RAYCHEM self-regulating heat trace cable and are known for technical leadership and expertise in polymer science and radiation cross-linking. Our nVent PYROTENAX mineral insulated heat trace cable has been an industry leader for over 75 years. And, we offer the most advanced line of heat trace control and monitoring systems.

Premiere Heat Management System Services

A properly designed heat management system is complicated. Let our heat trace experts provide you with turnkey solutions and project management through all phases of your pipe freeze protection project to ensure that you stay on schedule and have an optimal heat trace system that will provide you with many worry-free hours of operation

  • nVent Thermal Management is a global organization with a complete line of heat tracing systems, superior technical support, proven project execution strategies, and high safety standards, making us an ideal partner for our customers worldwide who benefit from our expertise, products, and services to meet their heat management system needs.
Self-Regulating Technology

nVent RAYCHEM self-regulating electric heat trace cables automatically adjust their power output to compensate for temperature changes of the pipe.
RAYCHEM self-regulating heat trace cables:

Self regulating

  • Can be used for complex piping, plastic pipes and for pipes with/without steam cleaning
  • Result in more uniform pipe temperatures and are inherently safe with their unconditional T-ratings
  • Can be cut to length on site
  • Can be overlapped at valves, flanges, and instruments for ease of installation
  • Include state-of-the-art RAYCHEM connection kits that are easy to install, do not need a hot work permit, and do not use hazardous materials such as RTV silicones

Power-Limiting Technology

RAYCHEM power-limiting electric heat trace cables are ideal for pipe freeze protection applications requiring high power output and/or high temperature exposure.
RAYCHEM power-limiting heat trace cables:


  • Can withstand exposure temperatures to 500°F (260 °C) with power off
  • Can be used at voltages to 480 V
  • Vary their power output depending on the pipe temperature
  • Can be cut-to-length
  • Can be overlapped once for ease of installation
  • Include state-of-the-art RAYCHEM connection kits that are easy to install, do not need hot work permit and do not need hazardous materials such as RTV silicones

Mineral Insulated (MI) Technology

RAYCHEM mineral insulated electric heat trace cables are ideal for high power output, high exposure temperatures, or extreme resistance to environmental corrosives.
RAYCHEM mineral insulated heat trace cables:


  • Provide up to 61 watts per foot (200 watts per meter) of power output
  • Are pre-terminated, allowing for simplified installation
  • Are approved for use in nonhazardous and hazardous locations
  • Can be used at voltages to 600 V
  • Are especially suited for harsh environments
  • Provide a maximum application temperature of 1022°F (550°C) and a maximum exposure temperature of 1200°F (650°C)
  • Can be customized for higher temperatures by special order

Advanced Control Systems

nVent Thermal Management offers a number of RAYCHEM advanced control systems designed specifically for pipe freeze protection systems. The RAYCHEM control and monitoring products:

  • Sense ambient temperatures and are intended to control individual circuits, or provide control for a heat-tracing power distribution system (HTPG) activating a number of circuits.
  • Include mechanical and electronic thermostats for simple on off control
  • Also include sophisticated NGC controllers that provide monitoring of circuit integrity, performance and ground-fault current, and ground-fault protection

Control and monitoring solutions for pipe freeze protection applications include:

  • Local - Dedicated to an individual circuit located in close proximity to the heat trace power connection, these devices monitor and or control based upon the ambient temperature at that location.
  • Distributed - Multi-circuit panels strategically located in a plant to gather a number of EHT circuits. The location of these panels reduces the total installed cost by reducing the branch circuit cable lengths thus reducing the voltage drop and material requirements.
  • Centralized - Packaged to offer a single location from which to monitor and or control a group of heat tracing circuits, these systems use a single control device to activate a system of multiple circuits.
Optimized Heat Management System Reduces Costs at Ethanol Production Facility
Key Challenges

Bridgeport Ethanol is a green-field 40-million gallons/year ethanol production facility in Nebraska. Their heat-tracing application needed to be modified to include pipe freeze protection for water lines, tank heating and process temperature maintenance of syrup, silage and caustic lines. They brought in nVent Thermal Management’ nVent TRACER Turnkey Solutions team in May 2008 for the project.


The TRACER Turnkey Solutions team completely engineered, procured and installed the necessary heat management systems (HMS) at Bridgeport Ethanol. The team leveraged a complex and diverse range of nVent RAYCHEM control and monitoring solutions to reduce the number of necessary circuits to 35. And in doing so, the team was able to reduce the total cost of the heat management system at Bridgeport Ethanol.


Products used included the RAYCHEM 200NG with proportional ambient sensing control (PASC) for the pipe freeze protection and broad temperature maintenance applications. In PASC, the power to the heat tracing is proportioned based upon on the ambient temperature.

The TRACER Turnkey Solutions team also selected a combination of the RAYCHEM 920 and HTPG local control system to control and monitor remote circuits for tank heating as well as pipe freeze protection of the water lines. These areas were respectively 800 feet and 450 feet away from the centralized control panels and would have required 2/0 power wires due to the voltage drop.

Additionally, the team chose the RAYCHEM 200NI with line sensing control for the critical temperature maintenance applications. To reduce the RTD wiring costs, we used the RAYCHEM power line interface technology (PLI) and Smart End Seals (SES) to transmit temperature and continuity data over the heating cable conductors.


The project was successfully completed in November 2008. With the use of PASC algorithm, the TRACER Turnkey Solutions team was able to reduce Bridgeport Ethanol’s operating costs by 75 percent from that of the standard ambient sensing controller. The conduit and wiring costs were also greatly reduced by using a local control system, and the use of RAYCHEM power line interface (PLI) technology eliminated the estimated $40,000 of RTD wiring costs.

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