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poor man's heating cables

For all the DIYers:

Has anyone out there tried using the heat tape made for de-icing the edges of
house roofs in place of heating cables?  I wondered if it might work if
attached to the outside of the bottom and  used with a rheostat.  It might help
if the top of the stand had an open top, if any maintenance was needed.

Is this a really off the wall idea, or has anyone tried it?  

-hoping I could learn by your experience/mistakes