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Old 10-29-10, 09:45 PM   #1
Daox
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Default Insulating hot water pipes

Earlier this week I stopped by the local menards and picked up a few insulating items. I got a few bags of the heavy pipe insulation (grey stuff was thinner). I got a water heater blanket (also thicker type), and I also got some R6.9 foil faced insulation for the furnace ducting.





First, I started off with the hot water pipes. The previous owner had a piece of insulation here and there. I'm sure it wasn't too effective at keeping much heat in.

Here is the general layout.











The pipes extend to the right behind the furnace and then go up to the kitchen, bathroom, and 2nd floor bath.





So, I went to work. I probably went way overkill with my cutting joints as close as I could and taping them up with aluminum tape. But, thats how I like to do stuff. I added insulation almost everywhere I could.





I insulated as much of the pipes going to my sunroom's hydronic heated floor as I could. These were all bare copper before.





This was the biggest pain in the butt area. Lots of small pieces and lots of cutting them to fit elbows and tees correctly.





And, back on the far side of the furnace, I again added insulation to everything I could. The uninsulated pipes are the cold lines.





So far the pipes have been mostly insulated for a few days now. I just finished up the hydronic floor stuff tonight. I ended up using 2.5 bags of the pipe insulation. I was skeptical about doing this, but I can definitely say that getting hot water on the 2nd floor happens quicker now. Also, I found it amazing how warm the pipes coming directly out of the water heater are. The cold and the hot side were both very warm. I'm definitely considering installing some heat traps to minimize this heat loss. Anyway, I'm quite happy with the results.

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Last edited by Daox; 10-29-10 at 10:09 PM..
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Old 10-30-10, 01:33 PM   #2
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Why do you have water in the bowl under the T&P valve drain? I hope the valve isn't leaking.

Also, you might want to add some insulation around the T&P valve as it's connected directly to the water tank and some heat will be conducted up through it and lost to the surrounding air. Just make sure the handle on the valve can still move after you've added the insulation.
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Old 10-30-10, 01:37 PM   #3
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I forgot to add that if your basement temp is lower than your groundwater temp you might want to insulate the cold water line too.
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Old 10-30-10, 02:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
Why do you have water in the bowl under the T&P valve drain? I hope the valve isn't leaking.

Also, you might want to add some insulation around the T&P valve as it's connected directly to the water tank and some heat will be conducted up through it and lost to the surrounding air. Just make sure the handle on the valve can still move after you've added the insulation.
Yeah, the valve was leaking. I fixed it when I did this insulation job.

Good point about insulating the valve. That won't interfere with its operation? Just leave the top clear?

The ground water temp is pretty close to the temp of the basement in winter. In summer the basement gets a little warmer.
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Old 10-30-10, 02:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Good point about insulating the valve. That won't interfere with its operation? Just leave the top clear?
Nope, it'll work just fine. In fact, Rheem gave me a piece of insulation to put on there with the hybrid water heater I got. Here's a pic (the T&P is mounted on the side on this heater). The valve underneath the insulation looks exactly like yours except the outlet is pointing down.
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Old 10-31-10, 12:13 AM   #6
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I've got some pipe insulation waiting to go on my pipes as well. (Mine are galvanized, but like yours, just have random small pieces of insulation hanging off them.) I need to get to work on them, as it's dropping into the 40's at night and the snow is coming soon.
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Old 11-03-10, 11:36 AM   #7
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This reminds me I need to get under the house and finish insulating the water pipes that are down there.
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Old 11-03-10, 01:32 PM   #8
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I noticed that the hot water heater is a gas model similar to what I have and you say you're putting an insulation blanket around it. I keep considering that, but have been wary of how to do it correctly. How much space did you {or, will you} leave around the flue opening at the top? Did you cover over the little gas "shield" under the thermostat valve at the bottom or just leave it accessible?
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Old 11-03-10, 01:39 PM   #9
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I haven't installed the blanket yet.
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Old 11-03-10, 06:05 PM   #10
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any guess on what the r-value of those pipe insulators are? I've got 120 feet of 3/4" pex I'll need to run in the ground and insulate and the price of 2 or 3" rigid is giving me sticker shock.

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