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Insulation double steam system post asbestos removal

Hi! I read a number of posts about why to reinsulate after removing asbestos but am confused about what materials to use. One post indicated that "anything" will work (or at least help) but another seemed to be saying that fiberglass is the only thing that will stand up to steam. (In other words, don't bother with that black foam stuff at HD.) It also appears (but I'd like to verify) that 1 inch is great, but going thicker than 1 inch has a significantly diminishing return. Also, it sounds like this something I can do myself, but if so, what protective gear should I wear?


  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 10,383
    Yes, fiberglass is the only thing which will stand up to steam these days. The black or gray stuff from the big box is worse than useless, as it won't take the temperature. And also yes, 1 inch thickess is about right. And lastly, yes this is something you can do yourself, but you should at least wear goggles and gloves and long sleeves -- fiberglass can be itchy.

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 5,715
    and a dust mask won't hurt. Long sleeves. 1" is ok. It isn't worth going thicker unless your basement is unreasonably cold
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 693
    > @EBEBRATT-Ed said:
    > and a dust mask won't hurt. Long sleeves. 1" is ok. It isn't worth going thicker unless your basement is unreasonably cold

    And after insulating in that case, then it will really get unreasonably colder!
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • Harry_6Harry_6 Member Posts: 75
    Remember, when the system was designed they assumed that the mains would be insulated, and so took that into account when sizing the boiler and piping. Leaving the pipe bare makes it into another large radiating surface that was not taken into account when sizing the above was done. Consequently, the boiler could be undersized and the piping might be a bit small to handle the additional condensate generated by the pipe. Problems could result. And yes, fiberglass pipe insulation which comes in split 3' lengths with a self-adhesive strip is easiest. In a perfect world you'd insulate the mains, fittings, and branches to the radiators, but at least the mains is a good start.
  • nibsnibs Member Posts: 236
    Mineral wool is as effective as fiberglass and nicer to handle.
    Be careful with the asbestos removal, it is nasty stuff.
  • adasilvaadasilva Member Posts: 139
    From a cost side mineral wool will put a bigger dent in the wallet and not to mention that this time of year is peak sales for the stuff!
  • Zipper13Zipper13 Member Posts: 89
    @FriendlyFred helped me understand the cost/benefit of thicker insulation when I asked a similar question here:

    The take away was 1" thick was best for me.

    If you use your basement for laundry/storage etc, and you plan to cut the pieces down there, I recommend vacuuming up thoroughly after the job or else the particles will be tracked upstairs after.
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
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