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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Arlington/Boston MA
    Posts
    4

    Default Foam insulation on furnace/heat pipes - good or bad ?

    Hi Guys
    Foam insulation on furnace/heat pipes - good or bad ?
    I am trying to save heat/ energy/ money.
    I have 51 year old ranch house - just ok insulated and original natural gas furnace here in Arlington MA. With castiron
    radiators around the house. The house stays pretty warm all
    season for 50 years.

    I wrapped up the basement cellar water radiator/furnace pipes in Frostking foam -
    Will this indirectly hurt/damage/strain the furnace heater
    by keeping the 1 1/2 " pipes coming out and going out to the
    cast iron radiators upstairs by keeping the pipes so hot all the time ?

    What about the red water circulator pump ? Will putting foam insulator on pipes in cellar hurt/cause pump to run more or less or maybe damage it ?

    It sorta seems like I have to turn up the thermostat a little bit more now to get the usual warmth upstairs.

    I figured the old furnace should have to work less now - but now I'm not so sure ...
    Did I actually make upstairs colder/worse since before the pipes just naturally radiated their excess heat out and up (to the ceiling/upstairs above anyhow) ??

    Thanks alot... trying to keep warm this soooo Colddd winterrrr

    PS... I also put the foam wrap on the hot water 3/4" pipes in cellar too. That should help at least with hot water for sinks and showers, right ?

    Phil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Foam insulation on furnace/heat pipes - good or bad ?

    I'm no expert as to boilers and the related components ... however..... insulating the delivery pipes shouldn't cause any strain on the equipment.


    the pipes just naturally radiated their excess heat out and up (to the ceiling/upstairs above anyhow) ??
    There are 2 schools of thought here.

    One thinking is to insulate all pipes ..... in the case of forced air insulate the ducting .
    The reasoning is to minimize the heat loss from the hot water or hot air to maximize it's intended use.

    The other thinking is whatever radiated heat loss that does escape from the pipes or ducting within the conditioned space is considered a positive net gain ..... since this heat goes toward heating the home.
    In the case of forced air heat the ducting would be sealed for air loss .... we are talking about the radiated heat from the metal ducting.

    This would be different if the pipes or ducts were run through an uninsulated crawl space or garage .... which case the heat loss from those would be a negative.

    On one hand it may be possible you experience what appears to be cooler temps within the living space ... the basement for example .... by insulating the pipes or ducting since they aren't contributing with the radiated heat.

    PS... I also put the foam wrap on the hot water 3/4" pipes in cellar too. That should help at least with hot water for sinks and showers, right ?
    yep .... won't hurt.

    Just a thought.
    Last edited by canuk; 02-12-2009 at 08:03 AM.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Arlington/Boston MA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Foam insulation on furnace/heat pipes - good or bad ?

    Hi Marcus
    Thanks for replying -
    First it is forced hot water -NOT steamheat and NO forced hot air at all.
    We have good heavy castiron baseboard radiators (good shape) all around upstairs and in 1/3 finished basement.
    Other 1/3 is half-finished no baseboard heat but furnace/boiler/ & water heater/ gas dryer/washer located here w/ portable small electric heater.
    Last 1/3 is drivein garage under upstairs bedrooms (which are lil colder then rest of upstairs. Garage is not heated but slightly /not great insulated - with some hot water radiator pipes running thru it to deliver water to upstairs baseboards
    So garage gets some radiated heat (a lil) off these 1.5 in pipes
    So we have really 3 sections to our basement.

    Mostly worried about the hot water boiler/furnace running harder/more now and the red circulating pump maybe by wrapping up pipes in the foam insulation .
    So should I be concerned ?

    What do you mean about the last 10' of pipe ?
    It is a full closed loop circulating system even w/ expansion tank overhead. I did drain exp tank in late fall - came out nice clean and cold water automatically connects into it.

    I did/do have foam insulation on right down to main outbound 1.5" pipe coming from top of boiler/furnace down close to about 6" from top of furnace coveinrg up about 6' up. This pipe is definitely the Hottest of them all.
    Should I remove this foam insulation to just let that pipe breathe and radiate ?

    Thanks!

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