4 Steps to Insulate Your Heating Pipes
Focus on the different solutions
Step 1: Clean the pipes
Step 2: Take measurements
Step 3: Cut out the sleeves
Step 4: Case 1: Install insulation on straight and curved sections
Step 4: Case 2: Install insulation on T-fittings
Step 4: Case 3: Insulate at wall penetrations
Insulating your heating pipes allows you to make significant energy savings. Indeed, the hot water loses up to 20% of its calories between the heater and the radiators. Therefore, insulating heating pipes is necessary, especially in cold rooms (laundry room, cellar, basement). Different techniques exist depending on the configuration of your installation.
Focus on the different solutions
Different solutions exist to seal your heating pipes. Each more or less adapted to the installation’s constraints and the search for efficiency.
The insulating tape: comes in the form of a roll and is easily wrapped around the pipe. It is an easy solution to implement but less efficient than other solutions. However, it is ideal for insulating hard-to-reach pipes and elbows.
Rigid sleeves: they exist in different materials (polyethylene foam, elastomer, mineral wool):
Polyethylene: it is flexible but is to be preferred in straight sections. The standard diameter is 19 mm.
Elastomer is very flexible and can be used in straight and curved sections. The standard diameter is 19 mm.
Mineral wool: Thicker and more rigid, it is called a shell. You must reserve this one for straight sections. Very efficient thermally. The standard diameter is 30 mm.
These rigid sleeves are split in length and equipped with different types of longitudinal closure: glue, zipper, adhesive, or notch.
Good to know: the larger the diameter of the pipe, the thicker the sleeve should be. The tighter the sleeve fits on the pipe, the less air will circulate between the sleeve and the pipe.
1. Clean the pipes
Before installing the sleeves or insulation tape, it is essential to clean the heating pipes to be fitted.
- Wipe the pipes with a cloth.
- Use a wire brush (preferably brass) to clean the oxidized parts of the pipes.
- Check that the pipes are in good condition and that there are no leaks.
2. Take the measurements
- Measure the length of the pipes to be insulated, as well as the space between the pipes and the wall.
- Determine the circumference of the pipes using a tape measure.
- Divide the circumference by 3.14 using a calculator, and you will know the diameter of the pipes to be fitted.
Tip: when purchasing the sleeves, allow for about 10% more length, as you will have losses during installation.
3. Cut the sleeves
- Use a mitre box and a back saw to make your cuts.
- Straight cut for straight sections;
- Angled cut for curves;
- Point cut for T-junctions.
4. Case 1: Install insulation on straight and curved sections
- Open the insulation sleeve.
- Place it around the pipe, with the opening always on the outside towards you to facilitate closing.
- Close the sleeve according to the closure type (self-adhesive strips, zippers, notches, glue).
4. Case 2: Install the insulation on the T-joints
At this point, three pipes meet at a single joint, which means that you must adapt the installation to ensure the effectiveness of the insulation.
- Cut the ends of the three T-joints at an angle.
- Cut the two facing sleeves diagonally (called a whistle cut).
- Cut the third sleeve perpendicular to the other two in a V shape.
If the joint is not ideal, wrap the joint with insulating tape.
It is essential not to neglect the insulation of the clamps for fixing the heating pipes to the wall to ensure adequate insulation throughout the network. To do this:
When you measure the sleeves between each collar, add 1 cm of margin, then notch the end of the sleeve with a cutter.
As a result, the collar will be able to fit into the sleeve, maintaining the system’s heating pipes’ insulation throughout.
4. Case 3: Insulate at wall penetrations
Where pipes pass through walls, you should ensure the continuity of the insulation as best as possible by using polyurethane foam.
- Moisten the substrate slightly (this will prevent the foam from slipping).
- Spray the expanding foam with the aerosol upside down. Be careful not to apply too much, as this foam is expansive and swells a lot.
- Let it dry.
- Flatten the excess that has hardened with a cutter.
Tip: if you have to fill a hole in an upper floor, putting the expanding foam in place can be complicated because it will tend to fall. In this case, use scrap mineral wool to fill the hole.
Materials needed to insulate heating pipes
Seamstress’s tape measure