How to Calculate Boiler Insulation Thickness

What You'll Need
Tape measure
Insulating material

Putting insulation around your boiler is a great way to ensure that heat produced during the boiling process does not escape through the metal lining inside the boiler. There are many types of boiler insulation available, from an insulating boiler jacket which has the insulation already sewn into a fitted sheet that wraps around the boiler, to the traditional duvet material tied around the boiler with a belt, as many people may remember from the childhoods. If you want to get the best from your boiler insulation, then you should follow a few simple rules to working out the ideal thickness of your boiler insulation.

Step 1 - Work Out the Size of Your Boiler

The first thing that needs to be done is to work out the size of your boiler. This is important when you consider that every square inch of your boiler loses heat through convection. The size of your boiler will also be necessary when calculating the thickness of the insulating material. You will need to calculate not only height, but the width of the metal which lines your boiler. If your metal lining is quite thick, then you will not need your insulating material to be quite so thick. A thin metal lining a large boiler will probably require a greater thickness of insulation.

Step 2 - Learn how Much Material You Need

Insulating material doesn't cost much, and you can buy jackets ready-made which provide suitable insulation for your boiler. This boiler jackets are around 7.5cm, or 3 inches, thickness, and are enough to insulate most modern boilers. You should calculate whether this is enough for your boiler, or whether there would need to be another layer. Tanks which use a solar heating system, or where a dual-coil tank is used, the thickness of the insulation should be at the very least 3 inches of foam.

Step 3 - Measure the Thickness of Your Insulating Material

If you have already purchased the insulating material for your home, cover your boiler with this, and then measure the thickness of the taut material. It is important to do it in this order, as the tightening of the material around the boiler can cause a slight thinning of the insulation. If the material does become thinner, you should be able to wrap another layer around in order to fully insulate the boiler. Using a jacket should mean that the material doesn't thin, but you should check just to ensure that there are no problems.

Step 4 - Calculating Other Factors

When working out the thickness of the insulating material required, it is important to calculate other factors which may cause heat to travel out of the boiler. If your heating system is in a cold area, or in an attic with no radiator, then the cold can draw more heat out of your boiler. An air conditioning unit nearby can also chill the boiler, causing heat loss. While you are insulating the heating system, you should also use insulation material around the pipes and water tank to prevent heat loss from these areas.