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to insulate or not insulate forced hot water heat pipes

just insulate the floor...put in some r19 fiberglass and that way it will keep the floors from being so chilly...gas and oil are not getting cheaper.kpc

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  • Live/Learn
    Live/Learn Member Posts: 97
    insulate heating pipes or not??

    Dear Wallies, A few years ago I went and insulated my 1-1/4" monoflo piping in my basement. After doing this the basement is now cooler and so are the floors on the first floor. Would I be better off removing the pipe insulation and regaining ,through radiation through the floor, the heat coming off the naked pipes? I'm thinking if radiant heating is good why not this? It seem a waste of hot water to have them wrapped up and not giving off heat. I originally insulated them thinking it better to conserve the hot water for the baseboard heaters. What's your thinking on this?
  • Steve Garson_2
    Steve Garson_2 Member Posts: 708

    Insulating the pipes does save energy. Instead of heating the basement, you are saving the energy for the radiators. By the same token, of you want to heat your basement and therefore raise the floor temp, then remove the insulation. You'll use more fuel, but have a warmer basement...if that's what you really want.
    Steve from Denver, CO
  • Ted_9
    Ted_9 Member Posts: 1,718

    Is the basement insulated and sealed. Is the floor insulated under the first floor?

    Caution, If you seal up your basement to save on energy, you may have to add make up air for your boiler and or water heater.

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  • Live/Learn
    Live/Learn Member Posts: 97
    insulate floor?

    Dear Kevin,I always was under the impression that heat rises and cold doesn't. I still don't understand the reason for insulating the floor but I know a lot of people do. In some locales it's required for a CO.Please enlighten Me. Live/Learn
  • Ron Schroeder
    Ron Schroeder Member Posts: 998
    Comfort vs Cost

    That is what it boils down to, I installed a new boiler in my dads home many years ago, yes their oil bill was cut in half, but dad had one complaint the boiler area (his workshop) was now 50 degrees instead of 65 all winter, mom well she had one complaint too the bedroom and bath floors were colder. Solution, I had to install a cast iron radiator in the basement to keep them happy.

  • Ron Schroeder
    Ron Schroeder Member Posts: 998

    Hot air rises heat seeks out cold so if you insulate, the floor doesn't act as a heat transfer meadian.

  • Live/Learn
    Live/Learn Member Posts: 97
    removing pipe insulation

    Dear Steve, If I'm heating my basement aren't I also heating the first floor floor and in doing this aren't I balancing the temp difference so as the heat won't migrate to a colder basement? Also if heat rises shouldn't I get the benefit of that on the first floor? Also if radiant heating tubing buried in concrete is such a good thing having to heat the concrete first before giving off heat while only using 140 degree water uncovered pipes with 180 degree water should work like a charm. What's wrong with my thinking? Not all at once now Ha! Ha! Live/Learn
  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
    Same as you

    I had 1.25" piping, a monoflow system. I insulated it and the basement went colder by about ten degrees. I had insulated the floor. The basement was too cool for extended periods (small workshop/laboratory :) )

    So I did what any good wet head would do: Took Control.

    I heat the basement on a positive note. When I want, where I want. The boiler welcomes the additional capacity but I do not lose heat to it when I do not need it.
  • jerry scharf_3
    jerry scharf_3 Member Posts: 419
    Aren't I heating the floor

    Yes, you are heating the floor. You are also heating the cold concrete basement floors, walls, the dirt beyond them, any air moving in and out of the basement and probably a few more things.

    Insulate the pipes, insulate the floor any have a better checkbook balance.

  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796

    Insulated pipes allow you to control where the heat goes. Adding a small radiator here or there in the basement with a TRV to turn it on or off is usually very easy to do.

    My HVAC/Plumbing contractors shook/shake their heads at all the insulation I added around pipes, etc. but I believe that it's better for the house ultimately to control where the heat is gained/lost. For example, its not exactly useful to have a uninsulated domestic hot water pipe running next to a AC duct. First I pay to heat the water up, then I pay to cool it down.

    If you can, insulate the basement. But in my experience, reducing the infiltration and the overall heat loss is better addressed in the upper stories where in my case far more heat was being lost. Thus, that is where I'd pay attention first, then I'd work my way down.
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