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Neoprene foam pipe wrap off gassing?

cmrsf1cmrsf1 Member Posts: 4
We've installed a new on demand hot water boiler system for both radiant and baseboards. Our plumber built a custom made heat exchanger wrapped in neoprene foam. We have a funky smell in the new mechanical room that I thought was somehow related to the plumbing system - drainage but I've had 2 plumbers check it out and they don't think that's the issue. I'm just wondering if anyone has experience with the neoprene foam wrapped around the pipes off gassing and making this smell?


  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 2,261
    Make/model of the insulation is needed. I doubt it's neoprene.
  • BillWBillW Member Posts: 182
    Many construction materials "off-gas". Solvents and plasticizers evaporate, paints will emit ammonia smells or vapors of whatever base they have. Adhesives also can emit odors when heated. More info is needed to give you a better answer
  • hot rodhot rod Member Posts: 6,905
    Determine the brand and look up the data sheet. If it is the rubbery type it may be this

    Yes it does give off some smell when you open a box.
    The smell does go away after time

    How hot are you running the system.

    The inexpensive foam type insulation, like swimming pool noodles, tends to melt, dry out and crumble after time, but is usually odorless.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • cmrsf1cmrsf1 Member Posts: 4
    I don't see a name on here. The only thing on the side of the foam tube is 5/8 ID x 1/2 Wall R 3.3 25/50 167 357 1 I think our plumber picked it up at a supply house, not one of the big box stores. It's not like swimming pool noodles, more like rubber. Has a faint odor off one that hasn't been installed but there is quite a bit on the heat exchanger. Haven't been running the system for the past few months but the odor is still there.
    As EBEBRATT-Ed and hot rod have suggested, it may be elastomeric and the MSDS says nothing about off-gassing. I really appreciate your time in trying to help, kind of stumped right now...
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,477
    Do you spend a lot of time in the mechanical room?
    Is the spreading into the living space?
    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

    Steam system pictures
    Central air project pictures
  • cmrsf1cmrsf1 Member Posts: 4
    Yes, it has spread into the living space. Have an office right next to the mechanical room.
    Here is a photo the heat exchanger and the foam wrap.
  • CarriePalmerCarriePalmer Member Posts: 5
    It is simple insulating pipes which carry hot water from your water heater to faucets. it could be polyethylene or neoprene foam as well as fiberglass wrap
  • NY_RobNY_Rob Member Posts: 401
    Anyone have any info on those neat flow-meters in the background?
  • hot rodhot rod Member Posts: 6,905
    Blue & White is one common brand, very easy to read. They were, are, common in the solar thermal industry.

    Beware of temperature limitations on them.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • NY_RobNY_Rob Member Posts: 401
    ^ They look exactly like the Blue & White brand Flowmeter.

    Thanks very much Bob!
  • cmrsf1cmrsf1 Member Posts: 4
    I'm wondering if that foam wrap is the culprit putting out a nasty odor. Seems like it's the worst when I'm in there. There's a louvered bi-fold door between the mechanical and laundry. The odor is strongest in the mechanical room. I was just down there, thinking maybe if I painted the foam it would lock in the odor?
    The flow meters are for the hot water returns to the faucets to make sure there is always hot water w/o having to wait.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 3,067
    If that foam was slit to go over the pipes rather than slipping over the open end as you build, they may have used a special glue for sealing the joint. Are the black cable ties there to close the insulation or are they tying wires down.
    That glue may have a stronger odor than the insulation itself.

    With enough air movement/changes it may subside enough that it may not be so noticeable.
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