Heat Trace in gutters and downspout line

Location
northern illinois
Occupation
supervising electrician
Had new gutters put on the house after storm damaged the old ones. I have since found an almost full coil of "raychem wintergard", which is the ideal product for what I want to do.... keep the gutters deiced (now that they have guards to keep the debris out)

So here is the code question... Raychem has a cord and 27mA GFCI unit to feed this cable, it has a NEMA 5-15 plug...... How do I stay code compliant, obviously a "standard GFCI" isnt going to hold with a 27mA "fault", and a 5-15 standard receptacle doesnt seem right. Due to the layout of the gutters and downspouts, a plug-in cold end is what i would have to use.... Btw the cost of a 27mA GFCI/ELCI for the main panel is astronomical (a bit north of 125.00 when I last checked)

Any ideas?


Howard


(to the mods... If there is a better forum please relocate this)
 
Insulating the attic and ventilating the roof will prevent ice dams from ever forming in the first place, making heat in the gutters unnecessary.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
Insulating the attic and ventilating the roof will prevent ice dams from ever forming in the first place, making heat in the gutters unnecessary.
You may notice that nowhere did the OP use the words, "ice dam". Venting the attic and installing insulation will not aid the gutters.
 

Electromatic

Member
Location
Virginia
Isn't this why there is still (my state on 2014 NEC) an exception for GFCI protection for snow and ice melting equipment? I'm reading it as the OP being concerned about plugging this heat tape into a regular (non GFCI) receptacle.
 
You may notice that nowhere did the OP use the words, "ice dam". ...
I did. I also noticed that he didn't say he actually has ice in the gutters -- they were damaged by a storm, not by an accumulation of ice -- or that he actually needs heat in the gutters, only that he found a coil of heat cable laying around.

I also understand the dynamics of roof ice and know that if there aren't any ice dams on the roof, there won't be any ice in the gutters.
Were you to RTFA, you might likewise understand.
 
Location
northern illinois
Occupation
supervising electrician
TO all:

Yes I meant GFPE protection (was mutlitasking as I typed my original post. The attic is reasonably well insulated, and there is ridge venting and "mushroom" venting (house is a split level, upper attic not real friendly to crawl in).

In 33 years of being here never had an ice dam problem as much as having the gutters freeze up (probably from frozen downspouts)

All that being said, my only concern was PROPER (code approved) protection (aside from a "when in use cover") for the receptacle.

It seems (from discussion) that NEC will allow a single receptacle to feed this. Therefore I shall do that, and use a "when in use cover" to protect it, with a seal of some kind to prevent use other than that of the de-icing equipment.

Thanks to all for the advice and info, this isnt a situation I have run into before, as I dont usually install de-icing equipment (IMHO too much liability if it doesnt work right,)

Sorry to have stirred a "hornet's nest" with what I thought was a simple code question.


Howard
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Durango, CO, 10 h 20 min without traffic from wing
Occupation
wire pulling grunt
...Sorry to have stirred a "hornet's nest" with what I thought was a simple code question.


Howard
You didn't stir a hornet's nest. You are talking to a room full of guys and that's just the way things go.

I can't tell from your last post but I hope you realize that a single recpt and in use cover without ground fault protection is still a code violation.
 
Location
northern illinois
Occupation
supervising electrician
Dave:

Yes, I do, but other than the very expensive breaker for the panel. what other way is there to power this with the factory recommended cord. That is what I was initially trying to ask (I shouldnt multi task when i type..... )

Howard
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Durango, CO, 10 h 20 min without traffic from wing
Occupation
wire pulling grunt
You get to buy the very expensive breaker GFPE breaker that is far, far less likely to trip or you get to buy the less but still expensive GFCI breaker that is almost guaranteed to trip. Either option is code compliant.

I don't always agree with the code, but in this case I do. Ground fault protection makes good sense for heat tape. Bite the bullet and buy the GFPE breaker, if it trips you more than once a year you know it's a problem with the heat tape and not the breaker.
 
Location
northern illinois
Occupation
supervising electrician
This was my original plan to use, it is a factory part. Most likely UL listed. It has the integral GFPE , but has a NEMA 5-15...... My original thought was how to make this meet code when installed outdoors.... Seems like the only way is to use a hardwire kit and GFPE breaker..

Now you guys see why I was confused..... heat trace for a gutter/ downspout, and a standard plug.......

Maybe this becomes another of my good ideas that I dont implement


Howard
 

Attachments

This was my original plan to use, it is a factory part. Most likely UL listed. It has the integral GFPE , but has a NEMA 5-15...... My original thought was how to make this meet code when installed outdoors.... Seems like the only way is to use a hardwire kit and GFPE breaker..

Now you guys see why I was confused..... heat trace for a gutter/ downspout, and a standard plug.......

Maybe this becomes another of my good ideas that I dont implement


Howard
So again I say what about that exception? Am I missing something?
 
Location
northern illinois
Occupation
supervising electrician
2011 NEC refers me to 2 parts , 1 in 426, and 1 in 427, both showing GF protection needed. I saw no exemption if the cord has GF in it...... Has this changed in the newer versions of the code? My newer books are at the office right now.


Howard
 
2011 NEC refers me to 2 parts , 1 in 426, and 1 in 427, both showing GF protection needed. I saw no exemption if the cord has GF in it...... Has this changed in the newer versions of the code? My newer books are at the office right now.


Howard
Oh ok. I don't have my book handy, the question is is there a location requirement for the 426 GFPE? Does the branch circuit require GFPE or just the heating cable?
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Durango, CO, 10 h 20 min without traffic from wing
Occupation
wire pulling grunt
This was my original plan to use, it is a factory part. Most likely UL listed. It has the integral GFPE , but has a NEMA 5-15...... My original thought was how to make this meet code when installed outdoors.... Seems like the only way is to use a hardwire kit and GFPE breaker..

Now you guys see why I was confused..... heat trace for a gutter/ downspout, and a standard plug.......

Maybe this becomes another of my good ideas that I dont implement


Howard
I've never seen anything like that but it reminds me of some of the cheap hot tubs that come with a ground fault device on the cord.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
I did. I also noticed that he didn't say he actually has ice in the gutters -- they were damaged by a storm, not by an accumulation of ice -- or that he actually needs heat in the gutters, only that he found a coil of heat cable laying around.

I also understand the dynamics of roof ice and know that if there aren't any ice dams on the roof, there won't be any ice in the gutters.
Were you to RTFA, you might likewise understand.
I have personal experience with ice blocking downspouts without ice dams on the roof. And hey, what do you know, the OP followed up indicating the same. So, no, I didn't have to "RTFA" in order to understand. You might try being a little less snide in the future when your own understanding is less than complete.
 

twm22

Member
I have personal experience with ice blocking downspouts without ice dams on the roof. And hey, what do you know, the OP followed up indicating the same. So, no, I didn't have to "RTFA" in order to understand. You might try being a little less snide in the future when your own understanding is less than complete.
You are correct, gadfly. There CAN be ice in the gutters and downspouts WITHOUT ice dams, so the very first post in this thread remains of interest (as well as the excellent f/u answers)
 
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