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Insulate radiator pipes

The homeowner of a house built in 1900 has hot water, 2 pipe, cast iron, radiators and was wondering if it would be worth insulating the horizontal supply lines in the basement that supply the 1st and 2nd floor radiators trying to retain the heat to the radiators


  • mark ransley
    mark ransley Member Posts: 155

    Is basement used at all by him, it will be colder with it, but will heat upstairs faster. Floor may get colder, and heat does rise. I find when I shut off basement heat bills go down and my feet are colder. I would insulate and want the option to heat basement when I wanted to work down there.
  • Plumb Bob
    Plumb Bob Member Posts: 97

    No. insulating internal pipes is not cost effective.

    The basement is heated anyway through its ceiling. If the pipes are insulated, the basement will run a little colder, but not anywhere near as cold as the outdoors. Hence it is being heated, and so the savings are negligible.

    It would make sense if the basement ceiling and stairway opening were insulated in such a way that the basement is outside the hermal envelope...but that is costly. And then the cold water pipes will burst.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,914
    I might add

    that one shouldn't confuse the necessity for insulating steam supply lines with a desire to insulate hot water heat supply lines. In the steam case, one needs insulation to reduce to the lowest amount possible, condensation in the supply -- which can cause water hammer and slow (or in the extreme non-existent) heat to a radiator. For hot water, your problem is heat loss -- which may be, as has been noted, actually a heat gain and therefore useful somewhere else -- like in the basement.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Mandated by Energy Code.

    In NJ the State has adpoted the Internationl Energy Conservation Code 2006 edition.

    Section 403.3 and 403.4 both state that R-2 insulation is required.

    This topic is now being mandated by code.
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