Tag Archives: December


Hanukkah 2022

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“Standard” History

“The Historian Animating The Mind of A Young Painter” 1784 Thomas Rowlandson British

“When Herodotus composed his great work,” Richard Cohen writes at the start of Making History: The Storytellers Who Shaped the Past, “people named it The Histories, but scholars have pointed out that the word means more accurately ‘inquiries’ or ‘researches.’ Calling it The Histories dilutes its originality.

I want to make a larger claim about those who have shaped the way we view our past—actually, who have given us our past. I believe that the wandering Greek’s investigations brought into play, 2,500 years ago, a special kind of inquiry—one that encompasses geography, ethnography, philology, genealogy, sociology, biography, anthropology, psychology, imaginative re-creation (as in the arts), and many other kinds of knowledge, too. The person who exhibits this wide-ranging curiosity should rejoice in the title: historian.”

Soundcloud Podcast: The World in Time


Outdoor Deicing & Snow Melting

“Snow at Argenteuil” | Claude Monet (1875)

We have always taken a forward-looking approach to the National Electrical Code (NEC).  There are thousands of experts teaching new the revised NEC since the release of the 2020 in fall of 2019.   In keeping with our mission we are working now on contributing to the 2023 NEC, its related NFPA consensus products, and its coordination with consensus products developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

Apart from the IEEE there is no User-Interest voice in electrotechnical standards anywhere in the world (explained in our ABOUT).

Today our focus turns to outdoor electric deicing and snow melting wiring systems identified as suitable for the environment and installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.  They work silently to keep snow load from caving in roofs and icicles falling from gutters onto pedestrian pathways.

While the voltage and ampere requirement of the product itself is a known characteristic, the characteristic 0f the wiring pathway — voltage, ampere, grounding, short circuit, disconnect and control — is relatively more complicated and worthy of our attention.   Articles 426-427 of the National Electrical Code is the relevant part of the NEC

Free Access 2023 National Electrical Code

Insight into the ideas running through technical committee deliberations is provided by a review of Panel 17 transcripts:

2023 NEC Panel 17 Public Input Report (633 pages)

2023 NEC Panel 17 Public Comment Report (190 pages)

We hold Articles 427 in the middle of our priority ranking for the 2023 NEC.   We find that the more difficult issues for this technology is the determination of which trade specifies these systems — architectural, electrical, or mechanical; covered in previous posts.   Instead, most of our time will be spent getting IEEE consensus products in step with it, specifically ANSI/IEEE 515 and IEEE 844/CSA 293.

Technical committee work on the 2023 National Electrical Code was completed in October.  Public input on the 2026 Edition will be received until 1 August 2023.

We collaborate with the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facility Committee which meets online 4 times per month in European and American time zones.  Since a great deal of the technical basis for the NEC originates with the IEEE we will also collaborate with IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 18 whose members are charged by the IEEE Standards Association to coordinate NFPA and IEEE consensus products.

Issue: [19-151]

Category: Electrical, Energy

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jim Harvey, Kane Howard, Jose Meijer


IEEE Standard for the Testing, Design, Installation, and Maintenance of Electrical Resistance Heat Tracing for Commercial Applications

844.2/CSA C293.2-2017 – IEEE/CSA Standard for Skin Effect Trace Heating of Pipelines, Vessels, Equipment, and Structures–Application Guide for Design, Installation, Testing, Commissioning, and Maintenance


Du froid

“Road to Versailles at Louveciennes” 1869 Camille Pissarro

Today we review the literature for snow and ice management (and enjoyment) produced by these standards-setting organizations:

Accredited Snow Contractors Association

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

ASTM International

FM Global

Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers

Electrical Heat Tracing: International Harmonization — Now and in the Future

International Code Council

National Electrical Contractors Association

National Fire Protection Association

Winter is Coming: Is Your Facility Protected? (Holly Burgess, November 2022)

National Floor Safety Institute

Snow and Ice Management Association

Underwriters Laboratories

It is a surprisingly large domain with market-makers in every dimension of safety and sustainability; all of whom are bound by state and federal regulations.  Join us at 16:00 UTC with the login credentials at the upper right of our home page.


Industrial electroheating and electromagnetic processing

The global standards for heat tracing systems are developed by IEC Technical Committee 27.  The scope of work for this committee is reproduced below:

Standardization in the field of industrial equipment and installations intended for electroheating, electromagnetic processing of materials and electroheat based treatment technologies Note: The scope of interest covers industrial installations with the use of the following equipment: – equipment for direct and indirect resistance heating; – equipment for electric resistance trace heating; – equipment for induction heating; – equipment using the effect of EM forces on materials; – equipment for arc heating, including submerged arc heating; – equipment for electroslag remelting; – equipment for plasma heating; – equipment for microwave heating; – equipment for dielectric heating; – equipment for electron beam heating; – equipment for laser heating; – equipment for infrared radiation heating. The list presents typical examples of equipment and its applications and is not exhaustive.

CLICK HERE for the link to the TC 27 Strategic Business Plan

Titles in this committee’s bibliography appears to be stable.   As with all IEC titles, they are relatively narrow in scope compared with the titles promulgated by most US standards developing organizations.  Our interest lies primarily in the application of this technology within and around education community buildings.

While heat tracing generally goes un-noticed it is an essential part of cold weather safety.  It is wise to keep pace with its evolution with innovation in materials and controls with the lead.

We maintain this committee’s work on the standing agenda of our seasonal Snow & Ice colloquia; along with US standards developed by UL, IEEE, NEMA, NFPA, ICC, ASHRAE and a few others.  We also collaborate with the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee on this topic.  See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting; open to everyone.


Issue [18-332]

Category: Electrical

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Lorne Clark, Jim Harvey


Electrical heat tracing: international harmonization-now and in the future

Electrical heat tracing: international harmonization-now and in the future

C. Sandberg

Tyco Thermal Controls

N.R. Rafferty – M. Kleinehanding – J.J. Hernandez

E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company, Inc 


Abstract:  In the past, electrical heat tracing has been thought of as a minor addition to plant utilities. Today, it is recognized as a critical subsystem to be monitored and controlled. A marriage between process, mechanical, and electrical engineers must take place to ensure that optimum economic results are produced. The Internet, expert systems, and falling costs of instrumentation will all contribute to more reliable control systems and improved monitoring systems. There is a harmonization between Europe and North America that should facilitate design and installation using common components. The future holds many opportunities to optimize the design.

CLICK HERE to order complete paper

Heat Tracing

“Street in Røros in Winter” 1903 Harald Sohlberg

The National Electrical Contractors Association best practice catalog features a suite of titles (National Electrical Installation Standards to meet the intent of the National Electrical Code (NEC); particularly where the NEC asserts that an installation be constructed in a “neat and workmanlike manner”.   As anyone who has had to reckon with the subjectivity of the local electrical inspector knows, the determination of “neat and workmanlike” can be mighty subjective.   The NECA documents are used by construction owners, specifiers, contractors and electricians to clearly illustrate the performance and workmanship standards essential for different types of electrical construction.  Because the NEC is intended to be primarily a wiring safety standard, the NEIS suite is referenced throughout the National Electrical Code.  Electrical shop foremen and front line electricians take note.

NECA Standards and Publication Development Home Page

One of the NECA products that may be of interest to facility managers and risk management units in the education industry this time of year is NECA 202-2013 Standard for Installing and Maintaining Industrial Heat Tracing Systems.   About half of the United States deals with snow and ice half the year.

NECA 202 details procedures for the installation, testing, and documentation of electrical freeze protection and process heat tracing systems. Heat tracing cable types covered by this publication include: self-regulating, constant wattage, and zone heating cables and mineral insulated heating cables. 2 is approved as an American National Standard.   The 2013 edition is the current edition and will likely need revisiting/revision/reaffirmation as an American national standard soon.

The technical literature that keeps pipes breaking and roofs failing is complicated space. A common conundrum in the construction industry is which discipline (architectural, mechanical or electrical) should specify application of this technology; especially in value-engineering negotiations when each discipline is trying to reduce its unit costs. Control and communication system add another layer of complexity.  Several consensus standards occupy this technology; cross referencing one another and leaving gaps

ASCE 7-10 Snow Load Provisions

IEEE 515 Standard for the Testing, Design, Installation, and Maintenance of Electrical Resistance Trace Heating for Industrial Applications

UL 515 Standard for Electrical Resistance Trace Heating for Commercial Applications

IEC 62395 Electrical resistance trace heating systems for industrial and commercial applications

National Electrical Code Article 427

There are codes and standards developed by ASTM International, the International Code Council and ASHRAE International that set the standard of care for pipe insulation for energy conservation purposes but we will deal with the interdependence of standard of care set by those documents in a separate post.   Organizations such as FM Global typically derive their customer recommendations from consensus standards developers.

Because heat tracing is a cross-disciplinary technology we maintain it on the standing agenda of several colloquia: Power, Water, Bucolia, Snow & Ice and Mechanical   See our CALENDAR for the next meeting; open to everyone.  You may obtain an electronic copy of this standard from neis@necanet.org.  Communicate directly with Aga Golriz, (301) 215-4549, Aga.golriz@necanet.org.

Participation by the public in reviewing other titles in the NEIS bibliography is welcomed and begins at the page linked below:

Call for Public Review

Issue: [19-24]

Category: Architectural, Electrical, Facility Management, Mechanical, Risk Management,

Colleagues: Eric Albert, Mike Anthony, Jack Janveja, Richard Robben, Larry Spielvogel




With some 36 million square feet under management — and one of the largest campuses in the United States exposed to extreme low temperatures — building industry professionals at the University of Michigan have some experience managing the competing requirements of safety and economy in heat tracing technology.

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