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Heat Tracing In Piping Everything You Need To Know

Radiant heat transmission into the piping system is referred to as “heating tracing” in general. To keep the fluid in the pipe at the desired temperature, Heat is transported from the heat tracing system to the main process piping system either through tubing or electrical wire.

Insulation helps to confine Heat in Piping, but it’s not a foolproof way to keep the temperature of the fluid flowing through it constantly. Heat tracing is thus introduced into the piping system to compensate for Heat lost during fluid transit from one place to another.

What is Heat Tracing?

Heat tracing is a freeze protection technique used in Piping to control the network’s required temperature for uninterrupted fluid flow. Any piping system inside pipe insulation must go through the crucial step of heat tracing to ensure freeze prevention.

Generally speaking, heat tracing is a system that includes pipes and vessels. The temperature of fluid moving through the main piping network can be raised or maintained via this path. In the event of low temperatures, steam tracing in the oil and gas industry is a well-known technique to reduce the fluid’s viscosity.

To radiate Heat to the main pipe, the heat tracer used for heat tracing is often heated using steam or an electrical power source.

Importance and Need of Heat Tracing in Piping

Lack of According to outside ambient temperature or piping network with cold conditions where fluid flowing within pipes is susceptible to freeze difficulties that might hinder flow ability and produce a crack in the main pipe body, heat tracing is required in the oil and gas industry. By increasing the temperature in the piping network, a heat tracer eliminates the risk of freezing.

A pipe network operation without a heat tracing system can lead to the following:

  • Frozen equipment and pipelines
  • Obstructed pipes
  • Loss of production
  • The plant was closed, and repairs were made.

Piping issues

Piping heat tracing is necessary for two situations to prevent any of the conditions mentioned above:

  • The surrounding temperature of the Pipe is Low or,
  • A pipe carries a highly viscous fluid
  • For the safety of a piping network, heat tracing has several uses, including:
  • Freezing defense
  • Preserving the necessary temperature.
  • Maintaining the necessary fluid viscosity for pipe flow ability.
  • Prevention of icing or snow on the lines.
  • Types of Heat Tracing in Piping

Two main categories divide heat tracing systems:

  • Heat tracing systems are majorly divided into two types:
  • Electric heat Tracing and
  • Fluid heat tracing

While fluid heat tracing typically uses a tube or small diameter pipe (typically 0.5′′) through which steam is transferred as a heat-generating medium, electric heat tracing creates Heat using electricity and electrical Heat tracing wire. Tracing fluid can be heated using electricity, fuel combustion, or waste heat from industrial steam.

The two methods of fluid heat tracing are further separated into:

  • Steam Heat tracing
  • Glycol heat tracing
  • Glycol heat tracing employs heated glycol as a medium instead of steam, the heating agent used in steam heat tracing.

What is Glycol heat tracing?

The glycol heat trace system makes use of glycol’s anti-freezing properties. When glycol is added to water, the freezing point of the fluid inside the pipe is lowered, which causes the fluid to melt and release the flow channel.

Because water and glycol are combined to create an anti-freezing effect, glycol heating systems are sometimes referred to as hydronic heating systems. The installation process for a glycol heat trace system’s tube or Tracer is the same as for a steam heat trace system.

The water mixing ratio significantly influences its efficiency of it. The glycol ratio to water is recommended at 1:2. A glycol percentage of less than 50% prevents damage from happening in low-temperature climates while not overtaxing the system’s boilers and pumps.


Heat tracing is a technique for keeping the fluid inside the pipe at the proper temperature and flowable. The heat tracer, which can be either a wire or a tube and creates Heat for the main process pipe, is a crucial component of the heat tracing system. The type and method of heat tracing are as follows:

  • There are two forms of heat tracing: the fluid type and the electrical type.
  • A crucial component of pipework is heat tracing. Particularly in locations with low ambient temperatures or highly viscous fluids moving through pipes.
  • Due to pipe obstruction, heat tracing prevents freezing and reduces or eliminates maintenance tasks.
  • The radiation method of heat transfer is used in steam heat tracing to move latent Heat from the steam to the main process pipe.
  • Electric heat tracing uses the conduction method to transfer Heat generated by the resistive nature of the Tracer to the main process pipe.

• Glycol is used as a de-freezing agent in glycol heat tracing to reduce the freezing temperature of the fluid inside the pipe.

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