Do hardwire heat cables need to be ground fault protected?

Self regulating heat cables need ground fault protection!

Whether you are plugging heat cables into an outlet or hard wiring them to a junction box, heat cables require ground fault protection. This is for the safety of the structure and its occupants. It is essential for protection from electrocution and fires. 

We recently visited a youth center that was in need of a new system. It was pointed out that one of the sections was no longer working. Looking in the circuit breaker box to see if it was just a tripped breaker, revealed standard breakers with no ground fault protection (this was a hard wire system). This meant that anyone who could come into contact with any conducting surfaces could be electrocuted. Standard breakers are designed to trip with over current - amp draw beyond the rating of the breaker. A damaged cable could conduct enough electricity through gutters, downspouts, etc. to cause serious injury without drawing sufficient current to trip the breaker. Ground fault breakers are designed to trip when the cable is damaged and cut off any dangerous Damaged heat cable not protected by ground fault breakerpower. 

So now the picture to the left. What happened to those cables? This cable was initially damaged somehow and subsequently caught on fire. With no ground fault protection it continued to burn until it extinguished itself. Coincidentally, the breaker was still on. 

What could have been done to prevent this?

Proper ground fault protection would have prevented this. We specify and provide the proper equipment ground fault protection. The instant damage occurred the breaker would have tripped.

It has been our experience that even licensed electricians install heat cables without ground fault protection. On one project we were called back to to trouble shoot, it was observed that the electrician hired by the homeowner did not use ground fault breakers. We will not take any chances with our systems. The safety of you and your home is of the utmost importance to us. The UL listed products we use are safe and we install them with great care.

You are considering heat cables to protect your home or business from damage. Why choose a contractor - electrician, roofer, or handyman that would put that at risk. Give us a call or contact us for a consultation.