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Hot Water Maintenance (HWM) cable?

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JohnNY
JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
Hello all,
I'm exploring options to provide a HWM product on a job. If you've used one you like, please let me know which it is. I'm getting higher prices than expected and want to do my due diligence.
Very best,
John
Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
Consulting & Troubleshooting
Heating in NYC or NJ.
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Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,544
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    I use pipe heating cables from time to time, but not for hot water maintenance. Just to keep the durned pipes from freezing.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,840
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    I didn't even know such a thing existed. Seems like re circulation is far less expensive in the long run.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,356
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    Hi @JohnNY , could you give us a bit more detail about the system and what you're trying to accomplish? Electrically heating poorly insulated water can work, but will cost far more in operating costs than other methods, like demand recirculation. If it's just for freeze protection, that's a different matter.

    Yours, Larry
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,596
    edited July 2022
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    The HWM cable was an unfamiliar term to me. I have never seen it used as a domestic hot water heater before.
    I have seen heat traces used to keep pipes from freezing to keeping pipes hot so flowing grease or chocolate keeps flowing. It makes good sense to keep the water hot rather than circulate it back or having multiple hot water heaters thru out a building. It is a copper saver. I like that idea. Making it maintenance friendly for the next guy would be cool! I guess you would need an expansion tank(s) on that line.
    JohnNY
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,353
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    It is sometimes used instead of a pumped loop. The self regulating cable is only a few watts per foot, and no need to keep firing the water heater to keep the loop warm.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    JohnNY
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    In this case it’s being used on an extended run to a grease interceptor. The warmed insulated drain pipe will keep the grease from congealing before it can be separated and discarded. 
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,596
    edited July 2022
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  • Matt_67
    Matt_67 Member Posts: 295
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    We have done heat tracing on both hydraulic lines at a wood processing facility and chemical lines at a paper mill in the past, but we always used a thermostatic control to cycle it.  I think it was an unregulated heat trace we got from McMaster.  The product you linked to looks a lot easier.  I’d be interested to know how it is to work with.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,750
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    I used to buy the self-regulating stuff from Grainger. Ray Chem makes it. Cut it to whatever length you need. Put an end cap on it and hook the other end up to the power.

    Depending on the environment and temperature you run it along the pipe or spiral wrap it around the pipe depending on pipe size and how much heat you need
    JohnNY
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    I did a job at a college with HWM cable. RayChem branded, did it 12 years ago. I don't have the contract for the building so I have no idea if they have had long term issues with it or what it costs to run. 

    Self regulating, connected to the BMS and run on an occupancy schedule. There was miles of it, all covered with standard fiberglass pipe insulation and above lots of other mechanicals in the ceiling. 

    Seems a recirculating loop properly pumped would have been better long term? 

    I have used RayChem self regulating heat trace on several roof drain and gutter projects with a very good track record actually. Buy it is very expensive. 

    You can get it in 120, and 240 volt. And several watt/foot variations. 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,911
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    I’ve seen it used in Manhattan 25 years ago. Very efficient. I’ve personally use Frost Tex heat cables on freezer drains for over 30 years and have never replaced it unless damage. 
    JohnNY
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    I did a job at a college with HWM cable. RayChem branded, did it 12 years ago. I don't have the contract for the building so I have no idea if they have had long term issues with it or what it costs to run. 

    Self regulating, connected to the BMS and run on an occupancy schedule. There was miles of it, all covered with standard fiberglass pipe insulation and above lots of other mechanicals in the ceiling. 

    Seems a recirculating loop properly pumped would have been better long term? 

    I have used RayChem self regulating heat trace on several roof drain and gutter projects with a very good track record actually. Buy it is very expensive. 

    You can get it in 120, and 240 volt. And several watt/foot variations. 

    I'll check out Ray Chem. Thank you.
    @pecmsg Yes. This is a project in Manhattan and it's not completely uncommon. Working here where access to the building and its mechanical systems is often limited and always costly, sometimes, the way to get instant hot water is to wrap a hot wire around the pipe, operating costs be damned. Processes here are sometimes difficult to explain to those who work elsewhere.

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    Solid_Fuel_Man