How to Select Pipe and Elbow Heaters to protect your Drainage System
UltraHeat® Pipe and Pipe Elbow Heaters are designed to protect the drain pipes from freezing in cold weather. Specifically the pipes and elbows attached between your waste-water holding tanks and the termination or gate valve.
This area of your system is the drainage low point and first portion of the drainage system that will collect fluid, and also be the first part of the system to freeze in cold weather. Not only will frozen pipes prevent you from dumping your tanks it can also be the cause of broken pipes, knife valves, and holding tanks due to the expansion of the fluid as it freezes.
This scenario is not only a major inconvenience in the use of your RV; it can also be extremely expensive to repair. 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 of heaters 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.
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 (no 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.
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 and panel to gain access.
Step No. 2: Note the number of 1½"- 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 down 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. We have designed the AM-EH-158 Elbow Heater for 1½" or 2" (3.81-5.08) fittings and AM-EH-313 Elbow Heater for 3" (7.62 cm) fittings. Each Elbow fitting 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 between both the gray and black holding tanks to the respective knife or gate valve(s). Again these pipes will be 1½"- 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, and may include a short section of the coupling.
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. Depending on their length, 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. If possible, we recommend no more than 2” (5 cm) between heat panels.
Note: UltraHeat® Elbow Heaters can also be used to protect short sections of exposed straight drain pipes alone or in combination with UltraHeat® Pipe Heaters.
They can either be used like a Band-Aid around a finger, covering 3 – 5 inches (7.6 – 12.7cm) on 1.5” or 3” (3.8 or 7.6 cm) piping, or lengthways along the bottom of the pipe.
For 1.5” (3.8cm) pipe, the AM-EH-158 can cover 4” to 8” (10-20cm) of pipe, and the AM-EH-313 can cover 8” to 12” (20-30cm) of 3” (7.6cm) pipe along the bottom.
Step No. 4: If you intend on protecting your freshwater holding tank, measure the ½” pipe tubing length between the holding tank and were it passes through the floor. You will need one PH-513 heat panels for each 12 inches of length.
Note:The PH-513 heat panel can only be installed on rigid plastic supply lines like "Pex", do not install on either vinyl or vinyl reinforced fresh water supply lines, they will melt.