The principal aim of Safetrace Heating Limited is to focus on the freeze protection market. This dedication to a specific application has given Safetrace a special place in the industry for excellent products and attention to detail, backed by customer care.

My family links with the electrical trace heating industry are synonymous, and the connections on a worldwide scale, has brought with it many years of knowledge and experience.

During this experience, I had the personal task and pleasure with my family, to live and work in the United States. My mission was to operate the subsidiary of a UK electric trace heating company in the USA. As in many parts of the world, including the climate uncertainty in the UK these days, the vulnerability of exposed pipes to freezing in places like Chicago, New York and Canada really made me understand the importance of prevention before the freeze strikes.


Electrical trace heating of pipework to prevent freezing is not a new technology. The first developments began in the 1930’s, and there was rapid progress over the next 50 years, including the introduction of the self regulating heater cable in 1972.

If the air temperature is low enough for long enough, thermal insulation alone will not stop the onset of freezing. Our advice is always to act early rather than face the misery later. It might sound crazy to be thinking of freeze protection projects in the Summer, but it is the ideal time. Frozen pipework can be catastrophic and expensive, causing lost production and widespread property damage to industrial, commercial and domestic installations.

In 2010 sub zero temperatures caused many homes in the UK to lose their central heating. Unfortunately, over a decade later, hundreds if not thousands of pipes are still not protected, and suffer the same outcome. Who can predict when the next big freeze will take place in the UK, with winters like 2010, The Beast from the East in 2018, and even so recent as the winter of December 2022.

Safetrace kits provide a simple and safe solution for caravan and lodge owners, stables, farms, lofts, garages, storage facilities and any unheated outbuildings with exposed pipes vulnerable to freezing. The Safetrace kit is a robust maintenance free system that can be left connected to your power supply 24/7, 365 days a year. In this way you will have trouble free protection all year round, and you can rest night and day that your pipe is protected.


Trace Heating is the term used to describe flexible electric heating cables, which when an electrical current is passed through them, warm up to a temperature. Trace heating is installed directly onto a pipe to compensate for heat loss under worst conditions.

It consists of a flexible heating cable that is laid along the pipe prior to fitting thermal insulation. The heater output (wattage) compensates for the heat loss. Today, self regulating (self limiting) heating tapes are the safest type of heating tape for the freeze protection of pipework, and are perfectly suitable for both steel and plastic pipes. The self regulating cable delivers the right amount of heat exactly when and where it is required.

Unlike constant wattage heaters, which heat at maximum wattage output until switched off, a self regulating heater will not overheat or burnout, even when overlapped upon itself. The heating part of a self regulating heating tape takes place within a plastic conductive core. The dynamics of this technology are illustrated above.

The power output of the heater is self regulated in response to pipe and air temperature, and its own temperature. Higher temperatures, the lower the heater output, and colder temperatures, the higher the heater output. This self regulating action takes place along the entire length of the heating circuit.


The Safetrace kit is a very flexible heater. Fixing to the pipe surface and connecting to the power supply is a simple procedure.


Some new caravans and lodges are already fitted with trace heating, or are scheduled to have heating fitted during the installation of the units. However, many hundreds of units are still not protected and there could be up to 40 metres of vulnerable pipework on a single unit. Depending on their position, some sections of pipe can be more vulnerable than others.


The result of the above technology is a safer heater with low running costs, and installation that requires no special skills or tools. Safetrace kits are pre-assembled with in-line thermostat and 13A plug ready terminated for immediate installation.

As well as being self regulating, the heating cable will only heat when the thermostat switches on. Also, it only operates for brief periods in a year, so this ensures very low energy consumption.

Consider the worst scenario, burst pipes that can cause damage at huge cost, or penny costs to keep pipes frost free all year round.

It is a fact that global warming is having a profound effect on the weather and forecasts are not always guaranteed. Many pipes are not protected properly when the big freeze arrives, and protection is often needed urgently. The fact is, the need for protecting vulnerable pipes from freezing has always been there and will never go away.

Although trace heating is used for many other applications, such as heating pipes carrying viscous materials that must be kept at elevated temperature to keep the pipe contents fluid and easy to pump, the application to prevent pipes from freezing is prevalent in almost every country in the world.


The heating cable has a tinned copper braid and outerjacket for added electrical and mechanical protection. Heater circuits should be protected in accordance with standard IEC / IEE requirements, such as 30mA RCD and ‘C’ type breaker protection. If in doubt consult your electrician.

  Published on 09 June 2023 By Jenny Blumsom