When configuring Banner-Day’s TraceFREE® pipe heating designs, end feed systems are the most commonly used. They are excellent for lower to mid-range temperature applications, including multiple branch piping systems.
For decades, plumbers have thawed frozen water pipes by connecting portable welder electrodes to both ends of the frozen section and running a low-voltage current through the pipe. Effectively, the pipe becomes a heating element, melting the ice inside. That, in its crudest form, is impedance heating.
Impedance pipe heating system sizing for temperature maintenance applications is a function of heat loss off the pipe, which is determined by the pipe characteristics (material, wall thickness, length, etc.), insulation type and thickness, and minimum ambient temperature. Making use of this data allows for the sizing of the transformer to apply a specific voltage to generate the current required to maintain the temperature of the product.
Impedance pipe heating system sizing for temperature increase applications considers the same attributes as above but also requires flow rate, specific gravity and specific heat considerations of the product in the pipe. Temperature increase applications typically require significantly higher power as compared to temperature maintenance.
In the above multiple branch isometric, power is applied at one end of the piping by the X1 secondary cable. The current then flows through the pipe wall to the insulated pipe joint (IPJ) where the current is forced down the drop to the next IJP and then jumped via secondary cabling back to the header where the process is repeated at the next drop and then returned via the X2 cable connection back to the transformer and earth ground.
Selecting the right system for your pipe heating requirements takes advanced planning to correctly achieve your process goals. Every pipe heating system is different. Each has its own requirements, and its own challenges. With many different heating products on the market, users have to consider all their needs to select the best and lowest risk solution for the application.
Banner-Day has a long history of designing and implementing impedance pipe heating systems. Safety and quality are of paramount importance to us: all of our control panels are UL/ULC Listed, and all of our systems meet appropriate codes, such as NEC Chapter 427, NFPA 70E, and IEEE 844. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to consider implementing an impedance pipe heating system in your facility.
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