Canadian Plumbing Innovation Keeps Taps Flowing - Heat-Line Un System de Protection Contre le Gel Canadian Plumbing Innovation Keeps Taps Flowing - Heat-Line Un System de Protection Contre le Gel
Canadian Plumbing Innovation Keeps Taps Flowing - Heat-Line Un System de Protection Contre le Gel

December 30, 2011
Steve Maxwell

Like a growing number of Canadians, Mike and Alice Ogden have traded their city home for full-time life at the cottage. And as anyone who has attempted this will tell you, one of the biggest technical challenges is getting year-round running water from a landscape with shallow soil cover, delivered reliably to buildings without basements.

Preventing water lines from freezing during cold weather is the trick, and it requires specialized plumbing technology of the sort that a guy named Lorne Heise excels at creating.

An electrician by trade, Heise left the bustle of Toronto, moved to Muskoka, and started a company called Heat-Line (, 1-800-584-4944). Heise has invented and manufactures some of the best frost protection plumbing hardware I’ve seen, and I got to experience his Carapace product first-hand.

The Ogden’s new water well is 50 feet from their cottage, and with only 18 inches of soil cover, the pipe leading from the well would certainly freeze without some kind of cable to warm it. The Carapace product I installed for them includes a heating cable moulded right into the pipe, but this innovation isn’t the most impressive part of the system.

What really struck me is the intelligence behind the embedded cable.

Unlike any other pipe heating cables I’ve worked with, this one has the ability to adjust heat output incrementally along its entire length, applying more or less heat as needed to different parts of the pipe. This eliminates the danger that some cables pose of overheating plastic water pipes, while also reducing the amount of electricity required to a bare minimum.

A further innovation involves the use of a thermostat box that allows the system to shut off completely when heat is not required to keep the pipe above freezing. At $1,400 for 70 feet of Carapace pipe, and an additional $500 for the thermostat and foam pipe insulation, the Ogden’s system isn’t cheap. But after working with this hardware, I can also say that it’s extremely well made, well thought out, and exceptionally tough. The system has also proven it’s worth in a surprising way.

It’s -15C as I write this, and the Heat-Line thermostat has been cycling ON and OFF nicely as needed to keep the Ogden’s water line frost-free. What’s really remarkable is that we don’t even have the trench filled yet. The pipes are open and exposed as hoar frost wafts down from surrounding trees, yet water still flows perfectly from the well.

While its one thing to keep a water pipe warm and insulated as it sits under a limited amount of protective soil cover, its another trick to bring that pipe up into a building that sits in the air on some kind of piers, while also preserving the all-important layer of insulation. This is the challenge with many cottages, and to keep the pipe both insulated and protected, I used two products made for entirely different purposes.

The Carapace system involves sleeves of flexible foam insulation that goes around the heated pipe to reduce power consumption. In order to keep this insulation in good shape physically after it’s buried, I encased the entire insulated water line in 4-inch-diameter black ABS drain pipe. It’s inexpensive, exceptionally tough, available at every hardware store and easy to cut with a saw and join with solvent.

The only trouble is when the water line turns upwards to go into the building. There’s not enough room to slide the foam insulation inside the elbows in this ABS outer shell. Rather than leave the pipe bare inside, I drilled 3/8-inch-diameter holes in the side of the ABS casing every 6 inches, then injected spray foam insulation into the hollow outer pipe, surrounding the inner Carapace pipe to keep it reliable and economical.

It’s a simple little twist that lets a great Canadian plumbing innovation do amazing things.

Steve Maxwell, syndicated home improvement and woodworking columnist, has shared his DIY tips, how-to videos and product reviews since 1988. Visit him at, Facebook at Canada’s Handiest Man or @Maxwells_Tips on Twitter.


Well known Carnarvon area businessman, inventor and President of Heat-Line, Lorne Heise, has been honoured for one of his inventions.

The E.C. Manning Awards Foundation has accepted a nomination for an award for a company product called ArcticVent.

The ArcticVent is a device which prevents roof vents from freezing in cold climates and has been adopted by the Nunavut Housing Authority, the Alaska Cold Weather Testing facility and others.

The nomination was made by an area businessman and a Toronto patent agent and was a lengthy process involving the preparation of a four inch thick binder of data.

The Manning Awards – founded by Preston’s father-salutes innovation in Canada.

The Ontario Chapter of the Awards will accept the nomination at a reception on May 12 in Toronto at the Ontario Centers for Excellence Discovery 2008 show.


Heat-Line is pleased to announce the addition of cord connected CARAPACE to the Heat-Line family of freeze protection products.

Factory finished CS (cord set) and GFC (ground fault circuit) versions are now available in custom lengths to answer the call for custom pipe lengths. The new CS and GFC version of CARAPACE are factory finished to exact length and require no field splicing. The CS version comes ready to connect to a ground fault protected circuit. The GFC version is supplied with integral ground fault protection, as with all Heat-Line products.

CARAPACE is constructed of high density polyethylene NSF approved pipe for potability. The rural grade 1 inch and 11/4 inch pipes (RHPE) for wells, lakes and various other water supply sources are rated at 160 PSI and are internal diameter controlled. The municipal grade products rated at 200 PSI and are CTS copper tube size outside diameter controlled 1 inch and 11/4 inch sizes.

CARAPACE is cCSAus certified for Canada and the United States. CARAPACE is 240 volt available in 3 and 5 watt per foot heating densities at 50 degrees F. These conductive polymer self-regulating freeze protected pipes are the finest on the market and carry a 5 year limited warranty.

CARAPACE can be used for potable water, grey water and sewage forced mains. It is also recommended for all submersible pump applications, constant pressure systems and mass control systems.

For more information, visit the CARAPACE product page or contact Heat-Line.

CARAPACE is a Registered Trademark of Heat-Line Corporation.

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