Originally Posted by noralee
We have a lot of nights in the 20s and 30s and has been mostly fine here wrapped up. Some nights in teens, A few times a winter for usually a few days there are single digits or zero.
The tapes, what temperatures do they protect against? Do you combine them with any wrapping? Or just exposed with the tape?
Here is what I know about heat tape. I'm not and expert on it, only used it and been exposed to it a few times. If others have used it a lot more, hoping they can post of what they do. I have used heat tape (35 years ago now) on water pipes heading into a mobile home. Back then they called it heat tape and there was 2 kinds. One kind you used on metal pipe and you could "not" wrap the tape over the top of itself or it would burn up the heat tape. You had to go plug it in when it got cold out and unplug when you wanted it off. We did wrap the pipe with insulation.
As time went on, heat tape advanced and they had a thermostat built in that would turn it on and off. And they advanced to be able to wrap over themselves and not burn themselves up. I do not know if these older types are still available, odds are they may be. Be careful to not get the type you cannot wrap over itself and it has to be rated for your plastic pipe.
Fast forward to 4 years ago. I found "self regulating heating cable". This is used in my septic system valve cabinet to prevent the valves from freezing in the winter. This is way advanced over the older stuff. The cable is made from a technology that creates the heat and regulates it too. They make many brands that can be used on both plastic pipe and metal pipe. These are the way to go from my past experience.
Last year, my HVAC installer put this self regulating heat cable on the plastic drain traps on the furnace in my barn. Here are some pics of it.
You wrap it around the piping and plug it in. Do not use metal straps. Use plastic strapping (tie wraps) to hold it on. That's it, it powers itself and heats as needed. Since this was inside, it was not insulated.
Here is the package of the self regulating heat cable. This is made by RayChem.
The bottom part of the package
This type of heat cable you can wrap over itself, if by accident or on purpose. You can see it in the picture as they are advertising that feature. If this was outside, you should insulate over it. I would recommend the foam pipe insulation over the fiberglass batt type which if it gets wet, it not longer insulates. The foam type, you can wrap the outside with tape if wanted to help protect it from the elements or make a PVC pipe cover for it.
Odds are you may only need about a 6ft one from the camper to the ground point or below. I tried to find the brand my installer put in, but the cost where I was looking was very costly for a 6 ft one. ~ $75 and up.
I found a 6ft on by the Heat It brand more cost effective, but I have no background on this brand. There are other brands to research through as well.
Thinking about this, you most likely will have to put heat cable on the pipe down below the ground surface until you get to the frost line. If not, it may freeze the pipe from the top of the ground down to wherever the frost stops. I'm assuming your ground freezes there, if not you can skip this. If you go this route, you might have to put a PVC pipe sleeve over the heat cable, insulation etc to keep the dirt away from the setup.
Hope this helps