Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Boiling in Apartment, ? About Fiberglass Insulation Safety

I'm sure this story's been told a million times on here:



I moved to an older apartment building with steam heat. The temperature regularly reaches the 80s when the steam radiator goes on. It's so stuffy I have to have the windows open, which I understand makes the boiler work harder and makes the apartment hotter. I've shut off the valves on the radiators but there is still an enormous amount of heat coming from the pipes. It's hard to sleep or be comfortable at all.



Would fiberglass insulation be the way to go? Is it safe to have the fiberglass so close to where I'm sleeping? (One of the pipes I want to cover is right near my bed, and both me and my cat have asthma. Yes, cat asthma is a thing. Who knew?)



Could there be a problem with the system? The heat seems to stay on all night; I can hear the steam coursing through the pipes. Should I ask the reluctant management to investigate?



Thanks for any and all advice. I want to be cold again!

Comments

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,470
    It's pretty benign

    Fiberglass pipe insulation has a cover and they usually give you precut peel off tape for the joining but ends so all the fibers are pretty much contained once you get the stuff on the pipes. Once you get everything neatly sealed up it can be painted. Pipe insulation does shed a little while putting the stuff on but not nearly as bad as the attic insulation does.



    It's important to get the right size so it fits the pipe snugly and contains that heat. If these are single pipe radiators and you have silver air vents on one end, turning them upside down may well shut the radiator off better than the input valve knob.



    You could remind the apartment house supervisor how expensive fuel is and maybe he'll take the hint.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • radi8or
    radi8or Member Posts: 4
    reply to Bob

    Thanks, Bob, so if I'm reading correctly, it is safe to have in the bedroom?



    I don't care how anything looks so probably wouldn't paint it.



    I am going to contact the landlord but not sure they'll do anything.
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    try to get decent ....

    insulation (a.k.a. pipe-cove) the stuff at Home depot is not as good as the stuff from an insulation supplier. Call these guys .. http://www.jm.com/corporate/266.htm and ask them where in your area you could buy Micro-Lok HP Fiber Glass Pipe Insulation ... and make sure that the supplier throws in a couple pieces of LAP TAPE so you can seal the seams. You should be all good .. perhaps you have a young person in your life that could put it on for you and spare you any post-install itchiness. It's safe to be around, especially once it's all sealed up with the LAP TAPE. Once installed, give it a rub with a damp rag to grab any fibers lingering on the jacket. If you are in the NYC area, you can get it from this place in Long Island City .. ask for Angelo .. http://goo.gl/NeLHt
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • Enreynolds
    Enreynolds Member Posts: 119
    A word of caution

    Cats LOVE insulation.  Clawing at it, tearing it up, batting the torn pieces about.  I would recommend also investing in the pvc jacket material when insulating pipes with cats in the mix.
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Fiberglass Pipe Insulation

    Hi-  I agree with Bob, fiberglass steam pipe insulation is pretty benign. It's formed to fit around the pipe and has a clean white cover which can be painted. (See picture below) Normally the insulation comes in 3 foot lengths and I would go with a 1 inch thick insulation.  If you measure the circumference of the steam pipe we can tell you the size you need.

    - Rod
  • radi8or
    radi8or Member Posts: 4
    Some Follow Up ??s

    I am in the New York City area and actually lived in LIC for a while this past summer. Will measure pole and get back to you. Thanks so much for your help.



    And I can get a jacket for this insulation so the cat can't get to it?



    I know I sound clueless and I apologize for that. I really wish I had more home improvement acumen, but I do not.



    Would it be worth talking to landlord about insulating the boiler downstairs?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433
    edited December 2011
    PVC covers

    You sure can!



    http://store03.prostores.com/servlet/buyinsulationproducts/the-256/PVC-Cut-and-Curl/Detail



    Those cover the insulation and make it very durable.  Unfortunately none of this stuff is cheap.  I bought all of my insulation from that site and overall am happy.  Remember to be very gentle when handling the stuff to keep dust down and wash your hands and arms with cold water afterwards.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited December 2011
    Angelo has it all

    Give IDC a ring, ask for angelo .. he's got it all (insulation, jacket, etc.) ask him to throw in a small handful of tacks for the PVC jacket. The tacks are very expensive to buy outright.
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433
    edited December 2011
    tacks

    I prefer the PVC tape over tacks my self.

    Where is IDT located?  The website I posted I believe is in NY state so shipping was fast.  If IDT is another good local dealer I wouldn't mind trying them for future things.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited December 2011
    SORRY .... IDC not IDT .. I never get it right...

     right next to the freshdirect LED sign.. well about 4 building West of the FDirect sign .. near the midtown tunnel. (queens side).. they have a small parking lot. their website: direct to 1" insulation page: http://goo.gl/NeLHt (http://www.idccorp.com/)
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • radi8or
    radi8or Member Posts: 4
    how much $$ are we talking?

    I will be hiring someone to do this. I'm horrible with putting stuff together. If anyone knows anyone in the Northern Jersey area (West New York) please let me know.



    How much $$ are we talking for one or two pipes? (I definitely want to do the one in the bedroom, maybe the one in the bathroom, and leave the one in the living room, which I never use, alone.) I was under the impression this wasn't going to be very expensive.
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited December 2011
    it depends on the pipe size ....

    It would probably cost you more to go through the tunnel/bridge and back .. so I wouldn't worry so much about the cost. I believe Angelo may have a location in NJ .. you should ask him. this link http://goo.gl/NeLHt takes you directly to the correct insulation page .. not sure how much the PVC stuff is .. this is the link directly to the PVC page: http://goo.gl/uV3CX



    The insulation is sold in 3ft lengths .. but cost is by the 1ft.

    The PVC is sold in 4ft length and price is per piece.
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • insulation for steam piping

    remember that insulation will only slow down excess heat coming from the pipes, but not cancel it outright.

    i think the problem of the high apartment temperature has more to do with the mismanagement of the system than the lack of insulation [although having that would be a plus].

    ask the management when the boiler was last serviced, and how the system is controlled [thermostat, heattimer control, etc.] a properly managed system is quiet and comfortable.

    something is not right with the system, either in the control, or the operation, and it will waste fuel. you will be doing yourself, and the "reluctant management" a favor in letting them know, by directing them to this site!--nbc
This discussion has been closed.