How to Wrap a Hose With Heat Tape

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Protecting permanently installed water hoses is a must in freezing temperatures. Applying just insulation alone over the exposed hose may not be enough protection to keep the water inside from freezing. Once the hose is frozen, more damage can occur from the rubber splitting and creating permanent breaks. Measure the overall length of the hose to ensure the correct heat tape is being used. Employ only those heat tapes with a built in thermostat to control the operation of the electrical heating device.

Things You'll Need

  • Hose
  • Heat tape with thermostat of the proper length
  • Black electrical tape
  • Insulation covering (optional)
  • Extension cord (optional)
  • Disconnect the hose from the water spigot temporarily to perform the installation. Lay the hose out in as straight a line as possible. Uncoil the heat tape and lay the tape next to the hose.

  • Begin at the end of the hose where it connects into the outdoor water spigot. Attach the heat tape to this end, with the black electrical tape, leaving approximately 8 inches of the heat tape element itself past the end of the hose bib connector. This will entail not attaching the thermostat to the hose. The thermostat can be left "dangling" in the air after installation to measure the air temperature.

  • Work your way down the length of the hose. Wind the heat tape around the hose approximately one full round per foot of length to the hose. Secure the heat tape to the hose with a piece of electrical tape every 24 inches. Continue attaching the heat tape to the hose until you reach the other end.

  • Connect the hose to the outdoor spigot. Wrap the last 8 inches, which was left dangling off the end of the hose, once around the water spigot. This will keep the spigot from freezing as well. Place a couple of rounds of the electrical tape around the heat tape and water spigot to hold the heat tape in place. Attach the other end of the hose into the connection.

  • Cover the hose and heat tape in the outer insulation, if desired. Follow the heat tape's directions or specifications. Not all heat tape manufacturers recommend this outer insulation.

  • Plug the heat tape into the nearest electrical outlet. You may have to use an extension cord.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use only outdoor-rated extension cords that can carry the correct amperage or power for your installation.
  • Do not install heat tapes that have cuts or breaks in the insulation. The exposed wire can create a hazardous situation.

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