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Insulating around heat pipes.


Make It Worse's Avatar
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09-07-11, 03:41 PM   #1  
Insulating around heat pipes.

I'm insulating the ceiling of my basement. I have oil heat where the pipes send hot water, and return water to the furnace. I'm going to use fiberglass insulation in rolls. My question: Do I have to be concerned that the heat pipes can cause a fire if the insulation is in contact with them?
Thanks in advance,
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10-05-11, 08:58 PM   #2  
it could be a safety hazard if they are in very close contact. anything like that can become flammable with high heat temperatures.

 
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10-06-11, 04:48 AM   #3  
Actually fiberglas will melt rather than burn and I don't think that would be hot enough to do it. If you use faced insulation, the paper facing might burn, but even that I think is unlikley on a hot water heating pipe. Not an HVAC guru, but I would assume the temperature of the pipes would never exceed 220 degrees. That type of insulation may or may not conform to codes which would be the big question. Will have to see if anybody knows that for sure.

One thing that would be nice to know would be the actual temperature of the pipes when they are at full temp. Going to need a themometer that goes high enough, oven one maybe although that's probably going to read a little low. Infrared non-contact kind would be ideal, but don't think you want to spend the $50 or so to buy one.

Going to post a little note over in HVAC forum for direction here.


Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.

 
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10-06-11, 09:20 AM   #4  
Even 220 is a VERY high temp for a hot water heating system. A 'normal' high limit setting on heating boilers is 180. They use fiberglas insulation all the time on STEAM heating pipes and they are a whole heckuva lot hotter than 180!

 
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10-06-11, 02:52 PM   #5  
Thanks, Trooper; I was thinking that there was probably not much chance of it getting beyond even 200 degrees and at 220 I suppose it would then become a steam heat system, right.

What I was thinking was that normal foam pipe insulation might be adequate, isn't it rated to 200 degrees or so?


Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.

 
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10-06-11, 04:07 PM   #6  
Thanks for all the input. So far I have left an area of about 3" on all side of the pipes. but may consider changing it with your ideas in mind.
Thanks again,
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10-08-11, 03:20 PM   #7  
I've used the cheap foam stuff myself and haven't had it melt... but others have reported that it does melt. Maybe it's all in the brand and quality? But then my own system rarely reaches 160 so perhaps that's it.

In any case, I don't think there's any problem with fiberglas around hot water heating pipes, but always keep the pipes on the heated side of the insulation. What you don't want to do is allow the pipes to be on the COLD side of the insulation cuz then they might freeze.

 
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