The Thermostat allows the Heat Tape to completely shut off and draw (effectively) no power until it detects temperatures below 37ºF. Once it turns on, the self-regulating aspect takes over and directs heat to the area(s) of the cable that are in contact with the cold.

Because it is recommended that you insulate over your pipe once the Pipe Freeze Heat Tape is installed, the heat tape itself will be insulated from the ambient air that surrounds the pipe. The thermostat should be positioned out side of the insulating layer so it can effectively read the temp of the air.