Using tubular heating elements rather than heat tracing tape to de-ice the doors of a refrigeration system is the focus of a blog post from heaters and controls manufacturer Tempco Electric Heater Corp., Wood Dale, Ill.

Controlled heating around the inside perimeter of refrigeration system doors is used in applications in food and beverage processing as well as scientific, medical and transportation uses. The limited heat helps keep the doors from fogging over or icing even though they are opened and closed frequently, Tempco notes. Heat trace cable typically is used for defrosting and freeze protection, but one company contacted Tempco to improve de-icing their refrigerator doors using a tubular heating element.

Instead of lining the door frame with heat trace cable, the company designed an airflow tunnel within the door frame and applied forced heated air through this tunnel. Tempco worked with the customer to design a custom-formed tubular heater to fit within the limited space available.

The improved design lowered the maintenance costs associated with the refrigeration doors, Tempco says. A more consistent temperature within the doors has reportedly reduced the time it takes to de-fog the doors. Additionally, if a heater fails, the tubular element can be replaced.

Read the Tempco blog here.