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Pipe Insulation Questions


Having the asbestocel insulation removed from my steam pipes in the next couple of days and had some questions about what to replace it with.

The local home center chain store has Frost King insulation, but the fiberglass layer is 1/2" thick.  This solution looks to have the lowest initial cost.

Grainger appears to have 2 types.  The first is the traditional fiberglass with white paper-like covering - with insulation that is 1" thick (better than the Frost-King), but they also have what is referred to as Insulated PVC Pre-Curled Jacket.

The Insulated Jacket doesn't appear to have any fiberglass...my assumption is that you would wrap the pipes in standard fiberglass batts, then cover with the Jacket. 

The insulated jacket gives a more finished look, and outwardly appears to be the less expensive route (assuming my labor is free).  I would also think that it integrates better with the Insulated PVC fitting covers than the white paper fiberglass ones do.

Any thoughts on these choices?

Also, can anyone suggest a good plumbing supply house in the greater Boston area that a homeowner could get this stuff at (to avoid the oversize shipping costs)?



  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Shortly after I did mine

     I posted my entire file here  http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/137178/Insulation  There are a lot of suppliers listed in there. as well as some tips on how to install.
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067

    Insulation is by far the best "bang for the buck".  It makes a big difference in your fuel bills as more heat is getting to the radiators where it can warm up the house quicker there by saving fuel.

    - Rod
  • a3inverter
    a3inverter Member Posts: 64

    Thanks for the great information guys - I knew insulation was critical for all sorts of reasons having done lots of reading on "the wall" but now I understand the importance of 1" fiberglass as a minimum.
  • Maine Vent
    Maine Vent Member Posts: 130
    Pipe Insulation

    Look for commercial insulation business. There must be many in the Boston area. I used General Insulation here in Maine. General Insulation has other sites around the country. They have what ever you need, insulation tape, pipe covers, joint covers. On a steam system, it's well worth the investment.
    Weil McLean SGO4, Riello Gas Burner
    404 sq ft EDR
    Old Burnham V8 Removal
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    I went with the frost king.

    I put the 2" pipe wraps on my risers, then covered that with the 3" pipe wrap. The 3" wrap fits perfectly over the 2" and, with a little persuasion, the 2" unions. I used the same approach on the main risers, putting the 2" wrap on the nipples above and below the king valves, then covering the valves and wrapped nipples with the 3" wrap, with holes cut for the valve spindles. I also put some of the 2" wrap on the equalizer and a main branch that wasn't insulated yet.

    My plan was to cover them and the rest of the poorly insulated mains with the 3" wrap to give a more finished look and added R value, but at this point I noticed that the basement was a lot cooler--about the same temperature as the rest of the house--so I decided to stop for now.

    Eventually I might add convectors to the dry returns and add more insulation to the mains, but I want to relocate the mains and fix some pitch problems first.

    It may not be any cheaper to use two layers of 1/2" insulation, but I liked being able to do it gradually. I also like being able to work around fittings with the first layer then cover them with the next. I was able to get decent results, both in terms of insulation and appearance, without a lot of planning. With all the other projects I'm working on, I'm in and out of the Home Depot every other day, so I could just pick up a couple of sections each trip and add them on.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
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