FIREROD® Cartridge Heaters - Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I know that my heater will be built to the correct specifications?

Watlow uses vigorous testing and manufacturing processes to ensure that all heaters perform exactly as they are designed. Our engineers have been designing thermal systems for virtually every application since 1922. We have leveraged this broad experience to create a suite of online tools designed to assist customers in the selection process. Our Product Selector, Visual Designer™ and Engineering Tools will guide you through the heater selection process. You can also refer to our “General Method for Determining Heater Requirements” page.

How long will my heater last?

There are many variables that contribute to heater life including temperature, duty cycles, heater design, the operating environment and controlling methods. While our products are designed to perform for years of “normal” operation, there is not a single answer possible given the number of factors involved. Minimizing thermal cycling of the heater by using PID control and faster power switching algorithms available in the ASPYRE® power controller, will increase heater life.  To assist customers, there are several resources available. Please see our case study on accelerated life test that was performed in Watlow’s heater test lab using 1/8-inch cartridge heaters. Another helpful resource in our Ten Tips to Maximize the Heater Performance".

How fast can I get my heater?

All cartridge heaters are built-to-order based on your application needs. Watlow customers are not constrained by catalog stock heaters so you get the best of both worlds, a heater tailored to your needs that is built and shipped within days of ordering. Many standard cartridge heaters are included in our Watlow SELECT™ program where you can easily configure the product you need online with our Visual Designer tool. SELECT heaters are also shipped within five days or less. If you need it sooner, you can expedite your order to same-day/next-day shipping for $125 or 25%, whichever is greater. (Note: same-day/next-day shipping is determined by when an order is placed. If placed before noon CST, your cartridge heater will ship same-day).

How do I determine the correct hole diameter size for my application?

Use this guide to determine maximum hole size or recommended watt density.

Can I get a drawing of my heater?

You can create your own drawing through the configuration process on the Visual Designer. The tool will generate a dimensional image based on the selections made during the configuration process. The visual feedback featured in the Visual Designer guides you through the configuration process to ensure order accuracy and design flexibility.

What additional documentation is available for my heater?

What lead options are available?

Depending your heater requirements (diameter, voltage, wattage, length and termination options), the design combinations are broad. The Visual Designer will provide you with all termination options currently available based on the specifications of your heater as you proceed through the configuration process.

What is the best way to control my heaters?

The “best way” depends on what is important to you or your customer.  For accurate temperature control a closed loop control system using PID control with a solid-state power switching device is recommended.  Many customers use Watlow’s EZ-ZONE® control platform.  These come in many form factors including, panel mount, rail mount, touch screen, single-loop or multi-loop configurations.  If safety is important, an integrated, UL® or FM® approved limit is available.  See our interactive thermal system diagram for more information on temperature and power controller products for your application.

What else do I need?

All thermal applications include four basic components to form a thermal loop. A simple description includes the heater, a sensing device, a controlling mechanism and a power switch. The heater provides the thermal energy required to do the work. The sensor monitors the operating temperature sending signal information to the controller. The controller sends commands to the power switch to deliver power to the heater as needed to maintain the required temperature. Watlow also offers a range of additional products to maximize the performance of your system, such as data loggers for industries requiring regulatory compliance or users who want more visibility into their process. See our interactive thermal system diagram for recommendations on all thermal products needed for your application. You can also view our online article, Specifying Thermal Components – Making a Great Gumbo.

Do your heaters meet UL® requirements?

Many of our heater constructions carry UL® component recognition:

  • UL® component rated to 240VAC (file number E52951)
  • CSA component rated to 240VAC (file number LR7392)
  • VDE component rated to 240VAC (file number 1164800-4911-0009) (file number 1164800-4911-0004)

Note: Not all options or combinations of options are covered. UL®, CSA, VDE and CE marking is available upon request.

How much will my heater cost?

Heater pricing is entirely dependent on the specifications required for each application. Watlow’s Visual Designer allows customers to configure a heater that will meet their application requirements.

The tool will not only generate a list price for the configured heater but will also create a dimensional image to ensure that what you have configured is what you will receive. Pricing is based upon Watlow’s standard terms and conditions.

How can I get a discount?

Discounted pricing may be available for larger order sizes. For more information please contact your sales office or local distributor. To locate an authorized Watlow representative, use our sales office and distributor locator.

How do Watlow cartridge heaters compare to competitive heaters?

Watlow has consistently built world-class, high-quality products since 1922. We stand behind our cartridge heaters with a full one-year warranty (warranty terms). 

How do I justify why I bought from Watlow?

The world’s leading companies start with Watlow for all their thermal needs. This has been true since 1922 when our company was founded. Our engineering expertise, local support and comprehensive product offering enable Watlow to consistently lead the industry with innovative products wherever thermal is critical.