Insulating Pipes- Common FAQs

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Jo Browne of www.pipelagging.com says there are many things homeowners ask about pipe insulation. After all, insulating your pipes is a somewhat a pricey process and therefore you have to ensure that you know all the relevant information. Here are some common questions we get about pipe insulation.

What do the dimensions quoted for pipe insulation actually mean?

When describing insulation of pipes, you’ll always see three measurements quoted, that is, wall thickness, bore size and length. Wall thickness represents the actual insulation that you have. For instance, if you have 10mm wall pipe insulation that simply means that you have 10mm of insulation on either side of the pipe. It is crucial that you pay particular attention to this thickness. If it’s too thin, you may not get the results you want but too thick might also not allow proper fitting between the pipes and the wall.

Bore size is the hole through which the insulated pipe goes. It’s measured from side to side across the pipeline, which means it’s the diameter. Most common bore sizes are designed to fit copper or iron pipe sizes. When determining the correct bore size, it’s important that you allow an extra two inches to the measurement of the ducts.

What’s the best pipe insulation?

A well-insulated and energy efficient home will save you lots of money and time. But, with the wrong type of duct insulation, you could end up spending more money and wasting energy. That’s why it’s essential that you choose the best pipe and duct padding system in the market. Insulation types include:

• Grey foam – which is the most affordable one and is best for use in domestic pipework and plumbing.
• Class o nitrile foam rubber insulation- it is the flexible type that offers excellent protection against condensation and efficiently prevents energy loss. It’s very versatile and can be used for domestic plumbing as well as air conditioning.
• Phenolic foam – it’s by far the most energy efficient which is available for any thickness. Mostly, it’s used for heating, air conditioning and ventilation, among other things in industrial applications.

Can I install a power pipe horizontally?

The most efficient method for installing the power pipe is vertical. But, in cases where too much hot water is used without a vertical rain stack, then it’s best that you install the power pipe horizontally. However, you should know that the efficiency decreases by about half when the unit is placed horizontally. Therefore, if you want to do this configuration, it’s best you consider a longer unit.

Is it a must that I insulate the power pipe?

Most of the time, you don’t need to insulate the power pipelines unless sweating is a concern. When your system is placed behind a drywall, it can accumulate sweating which in the long run can damage the pipes. Insulation can thus help minimize sweating, especially in very humid locations where it occurs excessively.

How should I insulate pipes for winter?

It’s best that you use foam padding sleeves or special form of insulating tape to protect your pipes against freezing. If you have any pipes that are exposed, ensure that you keep them warm with space heaters from a safe distance. We also advise that you keep checking pipes in areas that are not used often and basements, to ensure that ice or frost is not accumulating and cracks aren’t developing.

Adam Smyth

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