How do Self-Regulating Cables Work?

Warmquest’s GutterMelt SR is an industrial grade, self-regulating, heat trace cable for deicing gutters, downspouts, roofs and pipes. Self-Regulating cable functions differently than the other constant wattage systems we carry. Self-Regulating cables like GutterMelt vary the heat output in accordance with the ambient air temperature. This can sound like voodoo or witchcraft, so let’s take a closer look at the mechanics of Self-Regulating technology.

How it Works
GutterMelt SR cable has a complex structure of several layers, but at the core lies a pair of bus wires with a carbon polymer core between them. The bus wires conduct electricity, but are not the heat source. The wires bring power to the polymer core which conducts electricity and provides the heating.

As the ambient temperature cools, the carbon in the self-regulating cable contracts, which creates additional pathways for the electricity to flow across the core. As it conducts more electricity the cable produces more heat for deicing.

The opposite is also true. As the cable and surrounding air heats up, the polymer core relaxes, resulting in fewer pathways to conduct electricity across the core of the wire. This prevents the cable from overheating while ensuring that the cable is providing sufficient heat for deicing needs.

GutterMelt Options
GutterMelt is available in 5, 9, and 12 watt varieties. The wattage represents the output per lineal foot at 32°F in water, (e.g. 9W GutterMelt produces 9 watts of heating per lineal foot in water at 32°F.). As explained the output varies due to the ambient temperature, so 32° is used to provide a baseline for our cables.

For more information on GutterMelt SR and how it can be used in your next project, contact our team at 877-877-4724.

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