With the inevitable approach of cold weather, pipelines and industrial processes will once again be the target of freezing temperatures. As the leading provider of electric heat tracing products and services, nVent has put together a “Winter Maintenance Checklist” to help you protect your product and your plant against freeze-up.
- PERFORM AN INSULATION RESISTANCE TEST ON ALL HEAT TRACING CIRCUITS An insulation resistance (IR) test allows you to verify the integrity of the heating cable. Perform an IR test on each heat tracing circuit as detailed in product installation and maintenance manuals. Confirm that values are consistent with product specifications indicated.
- TEST ALL GROUND-FAULT BREAKERS All ground-fault breakers should be tested according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- CHECK HEATING TRACING COMPONENTS Damaged or improperly installed components can result in water ingress, corrosion or the loosening of electrical connections. Check the components against installation documentation to confirm that the installation is correct. Ensure that all component locations are marked with the Electrical Connection labels supplied with the kit.
- CHECK YOUR THERMOSTAT OR CONTROLLER A thermostat or controller will allow you to optimize your energy usage while keeping your process running at temperature. Before the winter season, review settings and alarms to ensure that they are set properly. Also, perform all basic maintenance procedures as found in product operation and maintenance manuals.
- PERFORM A POWER CHECK Checking the power will allow you to validate that the power output of the heat tracing system matches the power output of the original design. Refer to product installation and maintenance manuals for test procedures and to verify that values are consistent with product specifications.
- CHECK YOUR DISTRIBUTION PANEL AND SECONDARY WIRE AND CONDUIT Visually inspect the conduit distribution system for openings inconduit, damaged or missing components and low point drains.
- CHECK YOUR INSULATION Insulation plays a critical role in the overall heat tracing system. No insulation or wet insulation reduces heat transfer from the heating cable to the pipe and can render electric heat tracing completely ineffective. Visually inspect all lines for missing, damaged or wet insulation. If weatherproof cladding is being used to protect the insulation from the environment, then it must also be checked for continuity.
- MAINTAIN INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE RECORDS Complete installation and maintenance records will allow you to verify what system tests have been completed, original electrical values, etc. This information can be valuable in determining if the system is operating properly over time.
- STOCK CRITICAL SPARE COMPONENTS AND CABLE If, after completing all of the above checks, you should still have a failure of your electric heat tracing system, then stocking spare components and cable will allow for timely repairs or replacements. All Installation and Maintenance Manuals can direct you in the repair or replacement of heat tracing system components.