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Insulate 1" CU pipes in heated space between floors?

Redrum Member Posts: 126
As I gut out the ceiling for each room in the house (2 story, hot water baseboard in basement, first, and second floor), I expose the (uninsulated) heating pipe runs for the floor above. I currently have the kitchen open, exposing some 2nd floor runs.

The question I always consider is if I should insulate the pipes or not. The same is true with the first floor pipes that are exposed in the basement.

On one hand, if I leave uninsulated, it seems that heat loss should radiate to help heat the floor. But on the other hand, should I be insulating to help keep the water temperature up through the run, possibly improving the efficiency at the end of the run?

I found this:
but it doesn't seem conclusive.

So, before the slap the new drywall up, I am wondering if there is a consensus from the experts?



  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,127
    I would insulate them unless you need the heat off the pipes.
  • Redrum
    Redrum Member Posts: 126
    Thank you, There is a zone that "heats" the basement, but I have it set at 60F, so it rarely comes on (only when we get to, say 10F or below). perhaps that's because the uninsulated first floor pipes (and returns from second floor) are helping the heat retained in the ground (?).

    So, I guess we can assume that the basement will never be below 60 (so it must be considered conditioned), but, in it's current state, the zone seldom turns on. But, if I insulate the first floor pipes (and second returns), I imagine the basement will be colder and the zone will activate more.

    what does this all mean? From what you stated HG, it seems like maybe I should just not insulate. Agree?

  • Redrum
    Redrum Member Posts: 126
    I'm not sure I understand your questions. Yes, the basement will go higher than 60 if either it's not winter, or I set it higher than 60.

    Maybe you mean - if it's real real cold and the two floors above are running alot, is it possible for the radiated heat of the uninsulated pipes for the two floors above (that are running in the first floor floor joists (basement ceiling) to actually raise the basement higher than the set temp? No. If it's real cold, the basement zone will kick in to get it up to 60.

    Heat rises, so the heat lost from uninsulated pipes will help heat the floors above (lessening the work for the above zones). So, that makes a case for not insulating them. But, is it more efficient to try to minimize the water temp loss in the run down, thereby lessening the need to heat the water, and also (?) have the zones open less because hotter water is passing through the radiators at the end of the run.

    Maybe the question is - what is a better radiator, a foot of 1" copper pipe or a foot of a baseboard? and if one is better than the other, is it significant?

    Thanks for your thoughts. I'll probably just not insulate. The above thoughts are more of a curiosity than anything.

  • Redrum
    Redrum Member Posts: 126
    Thanks HG! Cheers, Jim