- Aug 12, 2022
Pipe insulation benefits your home in many ways. In addition to reducing the quantity of heat lost, it lowers your energy bills, makes your plumbing system more efficient, and protects it from expensive issues like frozen pipes and bursts. It also reduces your carbon footprint and helps the environment.
In this blog, we will explore the different types of pipe insulation materials so you can make an informed decision and get the most by insulating your pipes, while also offsetting carbon. Buying pipe insulation online, too, helps decrease your carbon footprint. It gives you access to a variety of pipe insulating materials from some of the best brands of pipe insulation, all from the comfort of your home.
Before we look into the different pipe insulation options, let us first understand the meaning of dimensions quoted for pipe insulation products.
Insulation for pipes is determined based on three factors: wall thickness, length and bore size.
a) Wall thickness:
The wall thickness refers to how much insulation the product has. For example, if your pipe lagging is said to be 25mm thick, it means it has 25mm of insulation on both sides.
Choosing the correct pipe insulation largely depends on the wall thickness. The insulation must be thick enough to give you the results you are looking for, but too thick insulation will not fit well around the pipe.
Space around the pipes is also another determining factor. If you don't have much space, it's best to choose a 13mm or 9mm thick pipe insulation to save energy and money. If space is not a constraint, then, 25mm thick or more would be the best option to maximise efficiency.
A simple rule of thumb is that the bigger the heating or hot water pipe, the thicker the insulation because it has more surface area and thus loses heat faster. For frost protection, however, the equation is reversed. The smaller the pipe, the thicker the insulation you need because a smaller volume of water freezes more quickly.
b) Bore size:
Bore size refers to the diameter of the hole in which the pipe you want to insulate would go. The pipe diameter is measured across the pipe from side to side, in inches or millimetres.
Measure the diameter of your pipe correctly and determine the thickness of insulation you need before you buy pipe insulation online or visit your local vendor. The pipe insulation you choose should not be too tight for the pipe you want to insulate. Go up one size if in doubt. A little additional space is ok, but if the insulation you choose is too tight, it can come open even if you use adhesive or tape to close it.
Rigid pipe insulation sections from Kingspan, Rockwool, Isover come in lengths of 1m or 1.2m. Flexible insulating options like nitrile rubber sections from K-Flex or foam-based sections from Armacell are manufactured in lengths of 2 meters.
Let us look into the different types of Pipe Insulation materials available for you to choose from
1. Polyethylene Foam Pipe Insulation: Armacell Tubolit PE foam pipe Insulation -
It is a low-cost, energy-efficient, semi-slit product that can be used for a variety of heating and plumbing applications. With thermal conductivity as low as 0.040 W/mK @ 40°C, this flexible closed-cell polyethylene thermal pipe insulation comes in 2-meter lengths.
Hot pipes up to 105 degrees Celsius can be insulated with Class O insulation. The insulation is quite adaptable and is used in HVAC and domestic applications.
2. Phenolic Pipe Insulation: Kingspan Kooltherm Pipe Insulation-
It is one of the thinnest and most efficient pipe insulation products available in the market. The closed-cell structure enables a low thermal conductivity of 0.025 W/mK. The closed-cell, fibre-free construction makes the product resistant to air infiltration, thus enabling consistent thermal performance for many years.
The versatile product is used to insulate almost all types of pipe-like mild steel, stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, and plastic. The foil-faced pipe section can be used in temperatures ranging from -50 to +120 degrees Celsius. It has many industrial and HVAC applications. It is also known to be used in petrochemical and maritime industries.
3. Stone wool pipe Sections: Rockwool stone wool pipe insulation -
As preformed sections, the Rockwool stone wool pipe insulation features a one-piece foil facing and integral self-adhesive lap. It makes installation quick and simple; just snap the parts onto the pipe, take off the backing tape, and smooth down for a sealed and secure connection.
Mineral fibre insulation can resist temperatures of up to 700 degrees Celsius. It is ideally suitable for HVAC and industrial applications. The insulation is used on both external and internal pipework, however, for outdoor application, a PIB (polyisobutylene) sheeting may be required.
4. Glass Wool Pipe Insulation: Isover ClimPipe sections-
Isover climpipe sections offer thermal and acoustic insulation of pipework. A self-adhesive overlap and an aluminium foil cover help solidify the vapour barrier on these pre-formed, lightweight pipe sections. The sections are manufactured in lengths of 1.2m which means fewer joints and lesser thermal bridging.
They are ideal for heating and hot water pipe insulation. The consistent density ensures optimal thermal performance. The Isover climpipe insulation also helps in a significant reduction of noise levels for wastewater pipes
5. Nitrile Rubber Pipe Insulation: K-Flex Nitrile Rubber Sections -
Class O Insulation is a flexible, closed-cell, elastomeric nitrile rubber insulation that effectively minimises energy loss and provides consistent condensation protection. The product is manufactured in a 2m length - unsplit tube, a pre-slit self-sealing tube or as a sheet.
Class O nitrile rubber pipe section can be used on hot pipes up to 105 degrees Celsius. It helps you avoid condensation and save money on energy. It is resistant to mould, fungus, and bacteria. The insulation is versatile in application. It is used to insulate domestic and HVAC applications.
There are a variety of choices available for you to insulate your pipes. Look into your options and choose one that meets your needs. As mentioned before, insulating your pipes can yield many benefits. It also saves on installation charges if you are an efficient DIYer.
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