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Pipe Insulation

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  rev. 2008-11-25        

Existing Conditions

As a rule most of the heating and domestic hot water piping is insulated, however there are several points throughout the facility where bare pipe exists.

Retrofit Conditions

Once the main recommendations of this report have been implemented, there should be a continuous policy of insulating any exposed heated or chilled pipe in the facility.

Further Benefits

Insulation will improve hot water distribution and provide generally cooler and more comfortable working conditions in the mechanical room.

Application Details

DHW tanks should be insulated with a minimum of 5 cm (2 inches) of fibreglass insulation.

Distribution pipework should be insulated according to ASHRAE Standard 90.1, which specifies 5 cm (2 inches) on larger pipes and a minimum of 2.5 cm (1 inch) of fibreglass insulation on smaller branches.

Give priority to uninsulated pipework located in unheated areas such as basements, attic spaces, parking garages and to larger diameter pipes.

Use a lagged canvas or PVC jacket for exposed insulation, to prevent accidental damage.

Insulation in ceiling spaces must have a fire-retardant jacket.

All insulation should be applied according to manufacturer's specifications and in compliance with applicable codes and regulations.

Issues and Concerns

Penetrations through structural fire separations must be sealed with compliant firestop material.


Conforms to recommendations in "Energy and Water Efficiency in Multi-Unit Residential Buildings", Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.



Reduction in heat loss of insulated pipework system vs. uninsulated - 40% (assuming 2.5 cm or one inch of fibreglass insulation)

Cost of insulating 1.5 m diameter, 2.5 m long tank - $1,500

Cost of insulating pipes - $12 to $15 per metre for smaller diameter pipes.

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