Heat Tape, Winter Preparation

Good morning everyone! I received an email from a very nice lady this morning, a reader who has benefited from this blog. I love receiving emails from my readers. It helps me to know what topics everyone needs me to post on. We all live different lives, and we all need different things.

NOTE: A man not so kindly pointed out to me one day that I do not live in a trailer, I live in a manufactured home. He explained that he worked with/sold them so he knows the correct terminology. So I explained that, here in Maine, we do not live in manufactured home parks, we live in trailer parks. Therefore, and since it is my home, I would refer to the home as a trailer.

Okay, so…when I purchased this trailer (a.k.a., the manufactured home) it already had heat tape on the pipes. The landlord of the trailer park that the trailer is in nicely came over one day, and he showed me this as well as some other things that I needed to know about.

He took me to the back end of the trailer, opened the door in the skirting, and unplugged the heat tape from the outlet that is located above the ground. He told me to unplug it in the spring, and plug it back in before winter.

As far as I can see, it is a tape that has the look of duct tape. Mind you, I do not actually go under the trailer. Spiders creep me out! But it is set up so that I don’t have to climb under.

The tape is wrapped around the pipes, so you should be able to tell fairly easily if you have any on your pipes. You may also have to replace sections of it at times, due to animals getting under there. My stepfather made sure it was all intact before we banked the trailer that first winter.

What does heat tape do? Well, here in New England, we can have some pretty cold weather during the winter months. The temperature can drop to below zero without much notice at times. So the tape, when plugged in, provides just enough warmth to keep the pipes from freezing.

Freezing pipes can lead to burst pipes, which you may not be able to replace during the winter months very easily. You would first have to dig into the snowbank that you have intentionally created to serve as added insulation. Then you would have to cut the plastic banking, then get under the trailer, take the old pipe out, install a new one, get back out, re-plastic the area, and shovel the snow back into place. It would be quite the job. (This was a worst case scenario.)

So, how do you go about adding heat tape to the pipes? In all honesty, I have no idea. My best advice is to ask someone who works at the hardware store. Or maybe you can Google ‘installing heat tape’ or something. You could also ask a plumber, I suppose.

I do suggest that, if your pipes are placed where they will be exposed to extreme cold during the winter months, you do add the heat tape.

I hope that this helps. Feel free to comment if you have any questions. I can talk to my stepfather and see if he can answer them.



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