According to the US Department of Energy, energy losses can be reduced by up to 90 percent if steam distribution lines are insulated. This means that if your home’s steam pipes leading to your radiator are insulated, you can save significantly on energy costs.
Also, suppose your home or business’s steam pipes already have insulation that requires repair or replacement. In that case, you could be throwing money away if you don’t find a solution to this problem. That’s why we at Scully’s Plumbing & Heating have compiled this guide explaining how to insulate steam pipes and reduce costs.
To ensure you receive the full picture, we will discuss steam pipe insulation material, including the best insulation for steam pipes.
What Are The Different Types Of Steam Pipe Insulation?
Learning more about the different types of steam pipe insulation will help you determine which best suits your needs. You should note that various materials can insulate steam pipes. These materials include neoprene foam, polyethylene, and fiberglass, the most commonly used material.
Some people prefer using closed-cell rubber insulation, foil-encased bubble wrap, and spray-on ceramic coatings.
If you’re having trouble deciding, consider fiberglass. It is readily available and can be bought in insulation sleeves.
Our Scully’s Plumbing & Heating team can install this type of insulation on your steam pipes safely without causing damage or injury.
How To Insulate Steam Pipes—The Fiberglass Process
We will provide a detailed explanation of how to insulate steam pipes using fiberglass insulation, as it is the most commonly used material for this purpose.
As mentioned before, insulating steam pipes is important in improving energy efficiency and reducing heat loss. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to insulate steam pipes:
1. Gather the materials:
- Insulation material (such as fiberglass)
- Aluminum foil tape or insulation adhesive
- Protective gear (gloves, goggles, and a mask)
2. Measure and cut the insulation material:
- Measure the length and diameter of the steam pipe that needs insulation.
- Cut the insulation material into strips or segments that are slightly longer than the measured length of the pipe.
3. Prepare the steam pipes:
- Clean the pipes to remove any dirt, debris, or old insulation.
- Ensure the pipes are dry and free from moisture.
4. Wrap the insulation material around the pipes:
- Wrap a cut piece of insulation tightly around the pipe, ensuring it covers the entire length.
- For pipes with bends or joints, you may need to cut the insulation material and fit it around these areas.
5. Secure the insulation:
- Use aluminum foil tape or insulation adhesive to secure the ends of the insulation material.
- Wrap the tape or apply the adhesive to seal any gaps or joints in the insulation.
- Ensure the insulation is firmly attached and there are no loose sections.
6. Insulate fittings and valves:
- For fittings, valves, or other protruding parts of the steam pipes, cut smaller pieces of insulation material and wrap them tightly around these areas.
- Secure them with aluminum foil tape or insulation adhesive.
7. Repeat for all steam pipes:
- Repeat the insulation process for all steam pipes that require insulation.
8. Inspect and maintain:
- Once the insulation is installed, inspect the entire piping system to ensure no gaps or areas are left uninsulated.
- Regularly check the insulation for any signs of damage or wear and tear on the piping and repair or replace it as necessary.
In addition, remember steam pipes can be dangerous when hot, so taking appropriate safety precautions and wearing protective gear while working on the insulation is essential.
Don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance if you’re unsure or lack expertise. Scully’s Plumbing & Heating can help with insulation projects.
Why Hiring A Professional To Insulate Steam Pipes is Preferred
While it’s possible to insulate your steam pipes on your own, it is not always the best idea. This is because steam pipes can reach extremely high temperatures, and you may not have the protective equipment to handle them safely.
Professionals, for example, wear specialized helmets, work gloves, and protective clothing to guard against burns and other hazards associated with working with hot pipes. They also wear safety glasses and high-efficiency particulate air respirators.
Insulating the piping in your home also carries other risks. For example, some homes have asbestos insulation that is incredibly toxic and known to cause cancer.
These asbestos fibers can become airborne when being removed. If breathed in, they get inside a person’s lungs and cause irreparable damage, if not cancer. If you’re not a trained professional, you risk jeopardizing your health in the short and long term.
To negate the chance of this happening, a professional will test the insulation you have on your current steam pipes. They will do this to ensure the situation is handled carefully. If there is no insulation, they will talk with you to discuss your insulation options. They will also discuss the process each involves.
Speak With A Steam Pipe Insulation Expert At Scully’s Plumbing & Heating Today
Now you know more about how steam pipes are insulated. If you want to have your steam pipes insulated, seek a steam-heating expert at Scully’s Plumbing & Heating. Our team has years of experience removing, replacing, and installing entirely new insulation on steam pipes.
Our skilled team knows what to do and how to get the insulation job done right the first time. Get in touch with us and we’ll assist you in understanding the various insulation options and deciding the best course of action.