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Insulating Water Pipes

What does that soccer announcer say? Goooaaaalllllllllll!

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Here is my Goooooooooooaaallll!!!!

A closer look should be a dead give away……..

You may be thinking – what makes this so exciting? I will tell you. It’s water pipe insulation – but not just any normal cheap pipe insulation, check this out:

AP Armaflex Pipe (Tube) Insulation is the original closed cell, fiber-free elastomeric foam and the world’s most recognized brand in flexible mechanical insulation.

Features:

  • Proven: World’s first choice for insulating chilled water and refrigeration lines
  • chilled-water and refrigeration systems. Efficiently reduces heat flow for hot-water plumbing, liquid-heating and dual- temperature piping
  • Retards heat gain and controls condensation drip from
  • Mold resistant: Made with Microban antimicrobial product protection
  • Acceptable in wall thicknesses through 1-1/2 ̋ (38mm) for use in air plenums and conforms to NFPA 90A and NFPA 90B requirements
  • AP Armaflex meets the energy code requirements of ASHRAE 90.1, ASHRAE 90.2 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and other building codes.
  • AP Armaflex Pipe Insulation in unslit tubular form can be slipped onto piping before it is connected, or it can be slit lengthwise and snapped over piping already connected.
  • Water Vapor Transmission: 0.05 perm-inch See technical bulletin #030 for additional information.
  • Indoor Air Quality-friendly: Fiber-free, formaldehyde-free, low VOCs, nonparticulating
  • AP Armafex Pipe (Tube) Insulation is a black flexible elastomeric thermal insulation. The expanded closed-cell structure makes it an efficient insulation. It is manufactured without the use of CFC’s, HFC’s or HCFC’s.
  • Made with Microban® antimicrobial product protection for added defense against mold on the insulation.

A quick internet search revealed that a carton of 54 of these 6′ pipes are selling on Ebay for $110 ($2.03 each). For individual pieces locally, I couldn’t find them for less then $3.66 cents for a 6′ section.

Check. This. Out. I was able to pick out  from that pile of cardboard, 20 pieces of 6′ lengths of pipe that were the size I needed for my water pipes that are 1/2″ pipes.

Shall we look closer at that receipt?

That’s right. 20 lengths of insulation piping for $0.50 each, $10.00 total. I heart the Rebuilding Center! A great lesson in knowing what you need when you go to one of these surplus stores.

On Monday, I had a walk through of the basement with Green Hammer, the general contractor, and he slapped his forehead and said, “shoot! we forgot to add insulating the water pipes in the scope of work.” I had been to the Rebuilding Center on Sunday and had seen these but walked right by because I didn’t know what they were. I ran back to the Rebuilding Center directly from work on Monday, read the description of the boxes and bought every appropriately sized pipe I could find.

———————————————————————————————————–

Here is what you will need:

-I needed 120′ of 3/4″ of piping. You will want to measure or estimate plus 10%.

-150 8″ zip ties $7.98 (I got 2 packs of 100 at 3.99 each)

So after you buy the insulating pipes, you’ll need to split them in half to retro fit them around the pipes. I used a wire cutter because it was convenient, and made a clean cut.

Then whatever is easiest for you, but you will want to rip it down the middle, I used my thumb and drug it through the length of the pipe.

Water pipes can be made from PVC piping or copper. Copper is a more healthy alternative, it doesn’t leak chemicals into your drinking water. It was easy for me to know which pipes were water because they are all copper. They look like the below photo:

Then you just wrap the insulation around the pipes. The back pipe in this photo shows the gap you will see when you first put the insulation over the pipe. You will want to twist the insulation a little but to bring the two edges closer together and then use a zip tie every 8″-12″ to reduce the gaps. Where you have bends in the pipes, I figure – its better to be safe then sorry so zip tie to your hearts content and close those open gaps.

Here is what my final product looked like:

The savings on this project was enormous. I wish I had the DIY channel’s “10 Grand in Your Hand” on speed dial for a more accurate estimate. I saved $$ (and landfill space) on the insulation piping by buying it from the Rebuilding Center and I saved $$ by doing the work myself.

What a scoooooooooooooooooooore!  That’s Piping Insulation on a Greenstring!

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