During the colder months of the year, plumbing pipes are especially vulnerable to freezing and bursting, leading to considerable water damage, mold growth, and the need for emergency remediation services. To prevent this snowball effect, most homeowners are advised to insulate their pipes with heat tape. If you’ve picked up a roll from your local hardware store but aren’t sure how to apply it, use the following guide to get started.
A Guide to Heat Tape Installation
1. Know What Type of Heat Tape You Need
Before you stop by the hardware store, you’ll need to do some research on your plumbing system, or ask a contractor to provide you with some background information. For example, you’ll need to figure out the length and diameter of your home’s exterior piping and shut-off valves, as well as the dimensions of interior pipes in cold areas. If your pipes are plastic, you’ll only be able to buy automatic thermostatically controlled heat tape, which includes a thermostat to prevent overheating.
2. Inspect & Install on Pipes
Before you lay the tape, make sure none of the pipes are leaking, as this could damage any insulating covers and cause the heat tape to short circuit. Once you’ve checked all pipes and joints, start laying the tape so the plug is within reach of an outlet. Then, lay the heat tape along your entire supply pipe, including those in the basement. According to the directions that accompany your specific heat tape, you may have to wrap it around the pipes or simply run it along one side of them.
3. Attach the Tape
Since heat tape isn’t actually adhesive, you’ll need to attach it to your piping with electrical tape. As you do so, make sure to never cross a piece of the tape back over itself, as this could pose a significant fire hazard. To further keep your pipes from freezing, wrap the pipes and heat tape in an insulating cover or jacket — exterior pipes will need to have weatherproof covers or wraps. Finally, plug it in as soon as possible — preferably, before the weather gets extremely cold. Make sure the outlet you use is a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter receptacle, and don’t use an extension cord.
If you need supplies to get your house ready for winter, head to Marchant Building Center in Mountain Home, AR. Since 1960, the hardware store has provided a wide range of essential products to residents throughout Baxter County, from lumber and windows to plumbing supplies and heat tape. They also offer installation services for doors, windows, garage doors, insulation, and siding. For more information on this hardware store’s inventory, visit their website, or call (870) 425-3168 to speak to a friendly associate today.