Connecting a heating cable: detailed installation instructions for a self-regulating heating system

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Antonina Turyeva
Last update: October 2019

Do you want to solve the problem of freezing private communication networks using a cable, ensuring comfortable living outside the city in the cold season? But the services of professionals will be expensive, and I do not want to invite cheap craftsmen at all. It would be nice to save money by doing everything with your own hands, isn't it?

You do not know how to properly connect the heating cable on your own and is this possible in principle? We will help you figure it out - the article describes the connection procedure and selects step-by-step photos of this process.

To help beginner installers, video recommendations for connecting are given, having familiarized yourself with them, you can independently cope with the task, without involving specialists.

Pros and cons of cable heating

Cable heating systems have become a real salvation for owners of private houses and cottages. If earlier such a solution was available only for large industrial facilities, in recent years a wide variety of offers have replenished the market, and the range of manufacturers has expanded significantly.

Moreover, there are many options for using heating systems. The most popular of which are water pipes, sewers, drainage systems, roofs, steps, small areas for various purposes and more.

This type of heating prevents the formation of ice, which can cause a breakdown of the water supply network and result in large expenses.

In addition, the heating cable also has such advantages:

  • affordable cost;
  • a wide range of products from various manufacturers, including kits for installation in hazardous areas;
  • high efficiency systems;
  • low power consumption;
  • simplicity of operation;
  • the availability of ready-made kits with instructions for self-connection;
  • long service life.

As for the shortcomings, the largest heating cable is its volatility. After all, for the heating system to work, it requires constant power supply.

Users also note that without skills, self-installation can cause some difficulties. And the question of cost is not entirely clear - the products of famous manufacturers are quite expensive.

True, experts advise not to save on high-quality cable, because it has been installed for more than a dozen years. For example, the Raychem cable systems have a lifespan of 50 years.

Pipe heating system
The photo shows a ready-made kit for installation inside the pipeline. All the disadvantages of such a cable, except for the volatility, are very insignificant, especially in comparison with the benefits that the use of heating cable systems brings

Instructions for connecting the heating

We suggest further detailing how to do it yourself connect heating cableso that it is workable and does not cause problems in the future. We instruct on the example of connecting a heating system located outside the pipe.

Stage # 1 - preparatory work

The first step is to carefully examine the section of the pipeline that needs to be insulated. All detected problems, such as rust, damage to the integrity of the outer surface of the pipe, etc., must be immediately eliminated.

Then you need to prepare materials that are useful in the installation process of the heating cable system.

Having prepared the materials, you must immediately perform the final termination of a pre-selected heating cable. To do this, take the free end of the conductor, to which nothing will be connected, cut off with a “step”, having previously removed the protective layer.

Then the resulting “step” is firmly and reliably isolated. Why use a set of heat shrink tubes. A simpler option is to purchase a ready-made system in which all preparatory work with the cable has already been carried out by a specialist.

Such an option will cost several hundred rubles more, but it will greatly facilitate the fate of a homegrown electrician who does not have experience in such work.

Stage # 2 - fixing the cable system

The next step is placing the cable on the pipe and securing it in the right position. Let us consider in detail how to properly install self-regulating heating cable do it yourself. To do this, you first need to read the instructions supplied by the manufacturer in the kit.

Then you have to choose the best mounting method:

  • rectilinearly, placing the conductor parallel to the pipe;
  • rectilinearly, having 2, 3 or 4 wires of the conductor parallel to the pipe and to each other;
  • by winding, wrapping the cable around the pipe with a certain step.

There is another option to arrange the cable, simulating a wave. But here it is necessary to calculate the required footage and the feasibility of such a fastening. Often with a large pipe diameter, it is easier to stretch 2 parallel cables.

When using the method of fastening by winding, it should be borne in mind that the consumption will be greater. And the step defined between the turns must be maintained.

Winding pitch table
The recommended step length taking into account the diameter of the pipe and the coefficient of winding is given for each specific case. Using the tabular data, it is easy to choose the right step for your pipe

Having dealt with the mounting method, you will carefully position the cable in the desired position. It is recommended to choose the lower part of a horizontally extended pipe.

Mounting with metal tape
Fasten with a metal tape-tape preferably along the entire length if a parallel type of cable laying is used. But when placed in coiled tape, they are glued perpendicular to the pipe, wrapping it in diameter. With this fastening, a step of 30 cm is also observed.

Stage # 3 - securing the protective cover

After attaching the conductor, you will immediately have to do additional insulationusing thermal insulation material for pipes. The assortment on the market is very rich, so you can choose the best option.

It is advisable to focus on the manufacturer's recommendations - the instructions most often spell out the recommended thickness and type of heat insulator. Moreover, manufacturers such as Raychem point to a specific material, without the installation of which the buyer may lose the warranty.

Protective cover for pipe
Over the insulation, a protective cover should be put on, which is also fastened with clamps. Such a multi-layer heat-insulating “robe” will provide maximum protection against freezing

Another nuance is the installation of special seals in the places where the cable heating system passes through the insulation. These kits can be purchased with cable and other system components.

Stage # 4 - connecting to the mains

At this stage, we will consider how to properly connect the power to a self-regulating heating cable. If you use products of a well-known brand, then the seller will select all the necessary elements for you at a certified point of sale along with the cable.

We offer you to familiarize yourself with the connection process:

  • the free end of the heating cable is freed from insulation, the protective shield is twisted into one bundle, and the conductor wires are stripped;
  • the end of the supply (power) wire is cut, and the ends are stripped;
  • the prepared cores of the cable and the supply wire are interconnected, for which it is convenient to use the sleeve + crimping pliers, and to put on the heat shrink.

This connection option is simple, only a little experience in electrical work is required.

Connecting box
You can also use a special device for connection - a junction box. The connection principle is similar, such a connection is also sealed to prevent moisture

In the future, the connecting nodes / boxes must be attached with tape to prevent accidental damage.

Stage # 5 - verification and commissioning

When the installation work is completed, it remains to check the quality of their implementation, to test the performance of the system.

But before you start it in work, you should pay attention to the following points:

  • the insulation of the heating cable must be integral, it will not be superfluous to check its resistance between the braid and the conductors;
  • the protective casing should be without damage along the entire length of the cable heating system;
  • all nodes of connection, splicing, connections must be tight;
  • It is advisable that circuit breakers and fuses be installed.

In order to avoid accidental damage to the cable, immediately after mounting it, proceed with the installation of the heat-insulating and protective casing. It is advisable to allocate a separate line for the cable system, equipping it with its own shield with installed in it RCD and circuit breaker.

RCD installation on the line
For protection, an RCD system should be equipped by selecting a 30 mA device. Of the additional devices, a thermostat may be needed - in the case when compliance with accurate temperature indicators is required

The nuances of connecting the cable inside the pipe

When heating water networks, they often choose internal installation. For these purposes, a conductor is used, which is additionally enclosed in a food coating that does not secrete toxins and is completely safe for humans.

Putting the cable inside the pipe
The heating system is introduced into the pipe, most often a water supply. A tee is installed in the place of its entry, for which the water supply is temporarily stopped

Next, we will consider how to properly connect and connect a heating cable designed to heat the pipeline from the inside. The process itself at many stages is almost identical to that discussed above.

The work includes the following steps:

  1. Performing isolation of the free end.
  2. Mounting the conductor and sealing the entry.
  3. Installation of external thermal insulation and protective cover.
  4. Electrical connection.
  5. Installation of additional devices - thermostats (if necessary) and automatic machines.

The second step is different - so consider it in more detail. You have to put the prepared cable inside the pipe using the entry kit.

But it is advisable to perform step No. 4 before the conductor is placed at its permanent location. Why it is necessary to connect the supply wire to the heating one.

Installation kit inside the pipe
To enter the cable, you will need a walk-through kit, with which there is a detailed instruction for its use. It is easy to put on the stuffing box, the main thing is to do it before terminating and tighten the mount firmly to ensure tightness

Introduces the rules and features of laying the heating cable inside the pipe next article, which we strongly recommend reading.

Installation and Maintenance Tips

So that the operation of the heating system does not cause trouble, it is advisable to carry out all the actions recommended by the manufacturer during installation. It’s good not to forget about the stickers - place / glue the heating notices on the heated area.

In the future, especially when repairs are needed, such forethought will be very helpful. It is also worthwhile to conduct a regular inspection of the pipeline, and if problems with the heating cable are found or if it is damaged, the repair should be carried out correctly.

Why remove the damaged piece, and instead, in this area attach a new, intact.Repairing the damaged area is not worth it - the replacement will be the right solution.

Ready-made kit for easy installation
If you are not an electrician at all, then it’s easier to buy a ready-made kit for internal / external heating. With such a system, it remains to carefully read the instructions and follow the instructions exactly

Experienced installers advise using metal tape to eliminate rough sections of the pipe where the heating cable is to be mounted.

Another useful tip concerns saving: you should not save when buying a cheap Chinese cable-fake - getting pipes from the ground and changing the heating system on frosty days will cost several times more than buying a quality system from a trusted manufacturer.

It is better to immediately buy a reliable cable and other components with a long-term warranty from a bona fide manufacturer, in addition, it is advisable to consider one of the alternative options pipe heating as a duplicate supplement.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

The step-by-step process of cutting the cable, terminating the free end and attaching the supply wire in the following clip:

Connecting the heating system to the power wire and additional external pipe insulation:

Features of mounting the heating system inside the pipe in the following video:

A correctly connected cable will ensure the comfortable use of communications in a country house or in the country even on frosty winter days.

If you have instructions, little experience in electrical work and accessories, you can connect the heating cable system yourself. Especially if you buy a ready-made kit in which a tight end seal is made and a power wire with a plug is connected.

Please write comments in the block below, ask questions, post a photo on the topic of the article. Share useful information that may be useful to site visitors. Tell us about your experience in connecting a heating cable.

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