Your heat tracing has been protecting lines and vessels from freezing. But winter isn't over and, as each day passes, the likelihood of a heat tracing failure increases due to time in service. How can you improve the odds? The following tips will keep your system warm and cozy:
- Check the bonding. Is your system connected to the earth, or is it properly bonded? See the NEC Art. 100 definitions of bonding and grounding to make sure you fully understand the components in your system.
- Protect against leakage. Are your branch circuit protection devices ground leakage equipment devices? If not, consider upgrading. If yes, how will you know when they trip (see the next tip)?
- Look at the latest offerings of heat trace monitoring products. Many of these can increase heat trace reliability. Some can also provide cost savings by eliminating unnecessary maintenance and alerting you to problems.
- Look at the latest offerings of heat trace control products. These include useful features that may have been unavailable when your system was installed, such as energy management, remote access, data logging, and trending.
- Protect against ground faults. In the event of a fault, a system without ground-fault monitoring could suffer extended downtime. Bring your system into compliance with the current NEC [427.22].
- Review ground-fault protection implementation. Use GFCI for people protection (3mA to 6mA trip), not for equipment protection (30mA trip).