Insulating Ductwork and Pipes Insulating Ductwork and Pipes

What You'll Need
Eye protectors
Knee pads
Wire brush
Duct tape
Insulating wrap

Ductwork and pipes can be made much more efficient with insulation.

Step 1- Survey the Problem

When you decide that you are going to insulate your ductwork and pipes, the first thing you need to know is the size of the task ahead of you so you can estimate what you need to buy. Check all the areas where you can get at the ductwork and try to measure the lengths of ducts and pipes that should be insulated. At the same time you should be looking out for any obvious defects that will need attention.

Step 2 – Working Around Obstacles

Some ductwork and pipe work is so close to walls and joists that it isn’t possible to wind insulating tape around them so you need to find any possible solutions to make the job easier.

Step 3 – Start with the Ductwork

There are several insulating materials available for use on ductwork and you need to find out which one would be best for you. Regardless, you will need duct tape to go over any imperfections or cracks you find.

Step 4 - Applying Duct Insulation

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the particular product you are using. General rules are that you must totally wrap the ducts when possible and secure the insulation at regular intervals with duct tape or ties. Before fitting the insulation always make sure that any cracks are sealed with duct tape.

Step 5 – Awkward Places

 If a duct runs along a wall so that you can’t wrap the insulation around it, apply it to the surfaces you can get to and secure it as best you can (staple it to adjacent joists for example).

Step 6 – On to the Pipe Work

There are insulation sleeves available for use on pipes that can be applied from one side but which will cover the whole pipe. These are sold in lengths that can be cut to size.

Step 7 – Before Applying the Insulation

Make sure that the pipes are clear of dust and grit before you apply the insulation. A wire brush can be helpful where there is an accumulation that might be a sign of a bigger problem.

Step 8 – Using Old Rags

Where it is not possible to use the material you have bought you can use old rags to give some insulation – simply jam them into spaces and fix them with duct tape or ties.

Step 9 – Cutting Corners

It is not unusual for people to try to cut corners by using the same insulation to cover two or more pipes. This is OK if the pipes carry the same product but is very foolish if one pipe carries hot water and the other carries cold. Do not try to make this sort of economy – it really isn’t worth it. Each pipe needs to be insulated by itself.

Once you have your ductwork and pipe work insulated you should start to see some savings and you also might notice that a lot of the strange noises in the night have disappeared.

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