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This is the electrical trace you want to know

In this page, most of the questions we receive in relation to electrical heat tracing are published in a Q&A format

What is the difference between a steam trace and heat trace systems?
Steam trace carries out the heating of pipes through condensation. Heat is delivery by the sensible heat and latent heat carried by the steam.
Due to the overheat temperature being determined by the pressure of saturated steam, steam trace has the feature of not allowing a temperature at or above the saturated temperature of the supply pressure.
However, the steam trace is not suitable for temperature control. There is a possibility of losses due to leaks, and compared to electric traces, the location the trace is carried out is not clean.
The location an electric trace is carried out is clean, and because all of the supplied energy is used without waste, electric trace is very beneficial regarding energy efficiency and running costs.

To see a diagram of a self regulating electric trace system

To see a diagram of a representative steam trace system

Are the installation costs and operating costs of the electric trace system better than the steam trace system?
As a prerequisite, if there is sufficient usable steam in the current installation, the steam trace is advantageous, but in addition to conventional fixed output electric heating cables, self regulating electric heating cables that improved upon reliability, safety, and economics are widely used, and explosion-proof qualified products are supplied in greater numbers to the market and there is currently a trend for these to be used in electric heating cables.
Installation costs vary depending on the scope of the subject installation, but although installation costs are higher for electric trace, considering operations, the operations are easy and completed faster for electric trace.
Which trace system is better running and has lower costs?
Steam trace cannot avoid losses of heat released from supply pipe and condensate pipe or drainage from the trap and flange, etc., and because it requires warming up when initially started, the usage rate of supplied energy is about 40%. On the other hand, electric trace has fewer losses and higher energy efficiency. Therefore has excellent environmental safety. From a comparison of steam trace costs and electric costs, it can be seen that electricity is 65% cheaper as a result. From a maintenance perspective, steam trace requires regular maintenance, and if there is a leak, major repairs will be required. Electric heating cables (in particular, self regulating ones) have high reliability and longevity, and are therefore better in terms of maintenance.
Is electric trace use more often overseas?
Starting with Europe which has a high awareness of environmental problems, with European and American chemical brands there is a growing demand for electric trace, and it is becoming common sense that when referring to heat trace, "electric trace" is meant. In particular, many large projects have started adopting electric heat trace in the last 10 years.

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