How to Install Heat Tape on Your Mobile Home Water Line

It happens every year as the temperature drops below zero. Water lines underneath your mobile home freeze cutting off the flow of water to your home. If you’re lucky they will only freeze, not burst. By not installing a quality heat tape or confirming your existing heat tape was working properly you have created a cold and uncomfortable job that will require you to bundle up, go outside, and crawl under your mobile home.

Regardless of whether you live in the city with city water, or live in the country with a well and a pump, protecting the exposed water line going from your mobile home to the source of your water pressure is mandatory. Even though it’s somewhat protected by the fact that the waterline is under the trailer and enclosed by skirting, as soon as the temperature drops below zero the waterline will freeze.

The waterline coming in your trailer can be as short as a couple feet or 25 feet or longer depending on the source of water. Every inch of this waterline must be encased in insulation with an electrical heat tape running the full length of the waterline. If your heat tape is two or 3 feet short of making the complete distance you know where the waterline will freeze. Insulation alone is not enough protection for below zero weather.

There are a number of different styles of heat tape available for this purpose. Some are available in predetermined lengths such as 12 feet, 15 feet, or 25 feet. You cannot shorten this style of heat tape to suit your need.

There is also available bulk heat tape that can be installed to any length of water line. This style requires the installation of a thermostat and plug end to complete the heat tape.

Whichever style of heat tape you choose installation on plastic water line requires that you attached the heat tape in a straight line rather than spiraling it around the plastic pipe. Spiraling will concentrate too much heat in one place rising the possibility of failure of the pipe. You can attach the heat tape to the pipe using electrician’s tape spaced every foot or so. If your water line comes out of the ground inside a culvert or tube, be sure to extend the heat tape down into the tube below frost level. Fiberglass insulation can be packed around the water line inside the tube to retain the heat produced by the heat tape.

Installation kits are available that amount to a three inch wide roll of thin fiberglass insulation that can be wrapped around the water pipe which has the heat tape already attached. A second layer of plastic can then be wrapped around the installation as a further barrier.

Your heat tape will likely have an indicator light that will tell you it’s functioning properly when you plug it in. As your water line is located under the trailer and somewhat protected ,you can wait until temperatures drop to about 15Ã?° above zero before plugging the heat tape in. This will save you some money on your electric bill as a heat tape is a heating element and will rise your bill noticeably.

Cost involved to purchase a reliable heat tape will be between about $20 and $50.00 depending on the length and style required.

Mobile home ownership requires a little more attention then stick built homes. A little forethought before the cold of winter arrives will assure that you have a ready supply of water throughout the winter. Failure to properly protect your water line will become rapidly evident as soon as the temperatures fall.

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