How Long Does Heat Tape Last?

In this article, I’ll be discussing how long a heat tape can last, and the factors that can affect its long-term use.

Heat tapes can be very helpful when it comes to removing ice dams from your roof. They are great at preventing rigid plastic and metal from freezing during the winter seasons.

One of the reasons heat tapes have become a popular solution for freezing roofs is that they are affordable. And due to their affordability, you may be wondering if it can last long.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Heat Tape?

On average, heat tapes can work best within 3 years. And this is why heat tape manufacturers advise that you change your heat tapes after 3 years.

Considering the function that heat tapes perform and their low cost, I’d say this is a long time.

Does Heat Tape Go Bad?

You must be wondering why heat tape makers advise that you replace your tapes after 3 years of use. After all, why replace something if it still works? Or do heat tapes go bad?

The answer to that question is yes, heat tapes can go bad just like every other tool you know.

Keep in mind that heat tapes are laid out in the open, where they are exposed to elements such as sunlight, rain, snow, and wind. And depending on the area or severity of these elements, heat tape damage can occur.

What Causes Heat Tape Damage?

Heat tapes are electronically powered tools, so they can get burnt under unfavorable conditions. That aside, a high current can cause the tapes to overheat and cause fires which will destroy the tape completely.

Another cause of heat tape damage is a repetitive cycle of cooling and heating.

As I have pointed out before, heat tapes are left in the open and exposed to natural elements such as heat in the summer and cold in the winter. They are also exposed to rains that fall all through the year.

All this pounding can cause the wire insulation of the heat tape to crack. And this will in turn allow moisture to seep in and cause a short circuit.

Can You Wrap Heat Tape?

It is advised that you do not wrap your heat tape over itself during installation over a PVC pipe. If you do this, then you’ll be putting the tape at risk of burning through the pipe and starting a fire.

When to Consider Installing Heat Tape

If you have never used heat tape, then you must have experienced freezing pipes or the formation of ice dams on your roof. A frozen pipe is no good, and a roof with an ice dam build-up is hazardous, which means you need to do something about it quickly before it leads to extensive damage.

One of the easiest solutions to these winter-related problems is to install heat tape.

Once your heat tapes are installed, you can be rest assured that your pipes will not freeze during the winter and ice dams will not form on your roof.

Of course, a heat tape is not a stand-alone solution to winter freezes, but it surely can help.

I advise that you install the heat tapes well before the winter season arrives, as it is far easier to stop an ice dam from forming than remove an already-existing one.

Since early installation will give your heat tapeless work to do, it ultimately means it can last longer and serve you better.

Are There Heat Tape Types That Last Longer Than Others?

There are different manufacturers and brands of heat tapes in the market. And while they all perform the same function, they will surely have some differences.

Of course, we have to consider the quality of the materials being used to make the heat tape. The stronger the material used to insulate the cables, the greater the resistance it will have to outdoor elements like cold, sunlight, and heat.

Simply put, cheaply made heat tapes will not last as long as those made with high-quality rubber insulation.

What Can Help Heat Tapes Last Longer?

You can get the most out of your heat tapes by using the following tips below.

  1. Buy high-quality heat tapes

There are a few things you need to consider if you want your heat tape to last longer. And the material the heat tape is made is one of them.

Heat tapes are “cheap” enough, so it makes no sense to buy a cheaply-built one with weak insulation. If you want your heat tapes to serve you for a long, then buy one that is made with high-quality materials.

  1. Buy self-regulating heat tapes

Another thing you have to do is to buy a self-regulating heat tape with a built-in thermostat.

This type of heat tape can adjust its heat output against ambient temperature. So as the temperature drops, the heat tapes will release more heat and will produce less heat as the temperature rises.

Self-regulating heat tapes can last longer thanks to their adjustability function, so go for it if you want efficient long-lasting heat tapes.

  1. Don’t allow your heat tapes to overlap

When heat tapes overlap, there is a good chance they will melt from the sustained heat being produced. And this is why you should always inspect your heat cables to ensure they aren’t crossed over each other.

How To Choose A Long Lasting Heat Tape

While you cannot control natural weather elements like sunshine, rain, and snow, there are other things you can do to enjoy your heat tape for the longest possible period.

Choosing the right heat tape is one of such steps you can take, and knowing how to choose the right one is equally important.

The first thing you need to do when buying a heat tape is to consider the weather conditions in the area where you live. The level of rain, sun, and snow in your region will give you a fair idea of the quality of tapes you buy, as well as the quality of the insulation protecting the tapes.


Ideally, heat tapes can last up to 3 years. However, if you allow it to be overly exposed to damaging weather elements then it won’t make it that far.

Heat tapes are inexpensive, so it’s always best to buy the ones of high quality.

Thanks for reading!

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