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# Partially insulated pipes

Member Posts: 123
I was thinking about the insulation on my steam pipes and was wondering if there was any known research done on partial insulation. In particular, most of the fittings in the basement have no insulation, though the vast majority of the pipes are insulated.

If you, say, cover 80% of your piping with insulation, how much does that improve your heat loss through those pipes? If fully insulated (with some specified thickness) pipes would save you, on average, 200 BTU/foot with 215-degree pipes, how about partial insulation?

I'm somewhat inclined to believe that, for example, if you cover 80% of the piping, it's considerably worse than reducing heat loss by 80% as much as fully insulating the pipes. If you think of heat loss as water leaking out of, say, a large thick cloth bag, your rate of water loss certainly increases dramatically if you cut a hole in the bag encompassing 20% of the surface area. But perhaps that's a bad example.

-Michael

• Member Posts: 1,117
Laiden Heat

It take a lot of energy to convert 212 degree water to 212 degree steam (at sea level). That energy is used to heat your living area.Its called laiden heat. The system was designed with insulation on the supply piping .Not to give up the laiden heat before it reaches the radiator.

Heat loss is refered to the loss through the envolope of the building.
• Member Posts: 17
latent heat

I think you meant to say latent heat.
• Member Posts: 89

The loss is a function of area when all else remains the same. Thus any is better then what you have now.
• Member Posts: 1,117
yep

I need a new spell check....

Can't spell but I sing with my wrenches
• Member Posts: 231
loss as a function of area

That was my first guess, but if I have a break in the insulation every 5-7 feet, then I have a spot of concentrated heat loss. Once that spot "cools" down from heat loss, conduction from the nearby (and insulated) pipe might presumably accelerate the heat loss through that spot, even if I have most, but not all, of the pipe insulated. Or so it seems, but that's all just theory.

-Michael
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