In removing the ceiling tiles in renovating our basement, it came to my attention that the first 5 feet or so on water supply line has heat tape on it. While we've had no problems with it freezing (knock on wood), the pipe extends for a while at the same distance from the exterior wall, with the same amount of insulation. My theory is the previous owner added the short amount of heat tape as that is what could be reached without tearing up the ceiling. Since it's the pipe is easily accessible now, I'd like to do the entire run, just to be safe.

I was looking at the FrostKing Heat Cable Kits, and their FAQ states not to do it behind drywall without hardwiring. Before reading this, my thought had been to run a longer heat tape (approximately 30 feet), plugging into the same GFCI outlet the heat tape uses now. Would this be OK since the plug itself would be easily accessible? Or should hard wiring be done? If so, any recommendations on tips/tricks, or products? I have no attachment to using the FrostKing heat cable kits, so other suggestions are welcome. I've contacted FrostKin, but I have not heard back yet.

  • Copper piping? If yes, you probably don't need to add more since copper is pretty good at transferring the heat to adjacent sections. – longneck May 23 '14 at 16:30
  • Why do you even need the heat tape -- is the basement unconditioned? Seems very strange that you'd have drywall up if that's the case. Generally a basement would have the exterior walls insulated, either have HVAC vents (though perhaps not as open as the rest of the house) or have radiators/other heat source. Especially if the floor between basement and main floor is uninsulated, there will be a lot of heat loss and it will be noticeably cold on people's feet (even if the ambient air temperate is otherwise ok, generally this will cause people to still feel cold). – gregmac May 23 '14 at 16:52
  • The basement is 1/2 finished. The finished side had paneling installed w/furring strips, & was insulated w/styrofoam (plain white styro sheets, not rigid insulation) between strips. The ceiling was cardboard tiles. Water main comes in 3-4 ft underground, & then copper pipe extends up in the ceiling, makes a right, & crosses the basement (30ft) parallel to the entrance wall, about same distance in from wall. On the vert pipe, about a 1ft above the main, there is heat tape up to & across the right angle extending 5ft. I can't say for sure it's needed, but I'd rather not find out after drywalling – themidnightwill May 23 '14 at 20:03

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