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How to Select Pipe and Elbow Heaters to protect your Drainage System

UltraHeat® Pipe and Elbow Heaters are designed to protect exposed drain pipes and elbows from freezing in cold weather. Specifically the exposed pipes and elbows attached to your waste-water holding tanks.  Exposed drain pipes and elbows are the first portion of the drainage system that will collect fluid and because of the smaller volumes of fluid held in the pipes and elbows they will also be the first part of the system to freeze in cold weather. Not only will frozen pipes keep you from dumping your tanks it can also cause broken pipes, knife valves, and holding tanks due to the expansion of the fluid as it freezes. These types of problems are not only a major inconvenience for the use of your RV, they can also be extremely costly to repair. UltraHeat® pipe and elbow heaters are needed to fully protect the drainage system. Once your RV has the appropriate amount of UltraHeat® Tank, Pipe and Elbow Heaters installed, then your RV's drainage system will be protected for cold weather use.

There are many different types of RV's manufactured by multiple different RV manufacturers. Even within a single product line RV manufacturers produce various models of RVs.  Each design will have a different floor plan, and all with a distinct drainage system and drain pipe layout.  It is not practical to have a "kit" or prepackaged sets for freeze protection.  Because of this, each drain pipe layout on every individual RV must be evaluated to determine the necessary amount of UltraHeat® Pipe and Elbow Heaters to be used.

Exposed drain pipes and elbows can only be protected from freezing if the appropriate number Tank, Pipe and Elbow Heaters are installed per RV. Equally important is the spacing of the Pipe and Elbow Heaters on the exposed drain pipes and elbows. Pipe and Elbow Heaters must not be spaced too far apart (more than 2" (5 cm) spacing between pads) or freezing will occur between them. To get good protection, it is crucial to select the correct combination of UltraHeat® Pipe and Elbow Heaters and space them appropriately. Follow the steps below to determine the number of UltraHeat® Pipe and Elbow Heaters you will need for your unique drainage system. 

UltraHeat® RV Gate Valve heaters must be switched and wired to operate independently from all other heat panels and systems. We recommend installing a separate "on/off" switch just for the gate valve heater inside a compartment close to the dump valves. Switch or power "on" approximately 10 minutes prior to dumping waste tanks in freezing temperatures (if needed). Evacuate the tanks, and close the gates, switch or power "off" the gate valve heaters. These Heat Panels are designed for short term operational use only, as needed,  and only in freezing cold weather.  




Step No. 1:  You must be able to see and touch all the drain pipes and elbows that empty waste from your holding tanks in order to gather the information necessary to select the appropriate pipe and elbow heaters.  In some cases, you might have to remove a belly cover or create an access hole to gain access.

Step No. 2: Note the number of 1˝"- 2" and 3"(3.81-5.08-7.62 cm) diameter elbows in each of the drain pipe runs from the gray and black holding tanks up to the knife or dump valve(s). These elbows can be 90°, 45°, 22.5°, short sweep, long sweep, etc.  Each one of these elbows will require its own protection from freezing. UltraHeat® recommends that you use an EH-158 Elbow Heater for 1˝"and 2" (3.81-5.08) fittings and EH-313 Elbow Heater for 3" (7.62 cm) fittings. All exposed fittings should have one of these elbow heaters installed for protection from freezing in cold weather.

Step No. 3: Measure the length of all individual straight drain pipe sections from the gray and black holding tanks to the knife valve(s). These pipes will be 1˝"- 2" or 3"(3.81-5.08 or 7.62 cm) in diameter. The length of each measurement should include only the straight part of the drain pipe. Make a list of all of the measurements for each individual section.  It may be helpful to sketch how the entire drain system is configured, from the tank drain to the knife valve. Each individual section of drain pipe will require a specific UltraHeat® Pipe Heater(s) to be fully protected from freezing. Use the UltraHeat® Pipe Heater Application Chart to select the proper set of UltraHeat® Pipe and Elbow Heaters for each individual straight section of  drain pipe based on its measured length and diameter. Some pipes will require multiple heaters and they must be evenly spaced so that the heat applied will be uniformly distributed to provide proper freeze protection for the entire straight section of drain pipe.

Note: The UltraHeat® Pipe Heater Application Chart is designed so maximum spacing between pipe heaters, elbow heaters and the pipe fittings, (elbows, knife valves, etc...) will be no larger than the recommended 2" (5.08 cm).

Note: UltraHeat® Elbow Heaters are also used to protect short sections of exposed straight drain pipes alone or in combination with UltraHeat® Pipe Heaters.

UltraHeat® Pipe Heater Application Calculator

    Please select your straight drain pipe section properties to see recommended pipe heaters combination.

Length Units: inches centimeters
Drain Pipe Diameter: 3.81 cm 7.62 cm
Straight Drain Pipe Section Length:
Use all of the following pipe heaters to
protect the straight section of drain pipe:

UltraHeat Pipe Heater Application Calculator

    Please select your straight drain pipe section properties to see recommended pipe heaters combination.

Length Units: inches centimeters
Drain Pipe Diameter: 1½" 3"
Straight Drain Pipe Section Length:
Use all of the following pipe heaters to
protect the straight section of drain pipe:

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