Energy Savings for Insulating Steam Heating Pipes with Fiberglass Pipe Insulation

Posted by WISCO on 15th Nov 2018

This newest question comes from Nancy in East Arlington Massachusetts who was planning on selling her home and moving down south.  She had all of the asbestos insulation removed from her homes heating pipes in the basement in preparation for the move as many sellers do not want asbestos in their new home.  Unfortunately Nancy's plans changed and she went through one winter already with bare pipes in the basement.  See the direct quote from her email below:

"With all the asbestos gone my cellar became a sauna and I had to call Benway twice to refill me.  I cannot afford to go through another winter without any insulation on these pipes."

System Details:

Approx 120 feet of 2" iron pipe branching off to approx 135  feet of 1-1/4" iron pipe.

DOLLAR SAVINGS FROM FIBERGLASS PIPE INSULATION EXAMPLE:

Fuel Type: Oil

Fuel Cost: $3.45/gallon (delivered)

Pipe Size: 2" IPS

Pipe Length: 120ft

Pipe Size: 1-1/4" IPS

Pipe Length: 135ft

Pipe Temperature: 212 F

Basement Temperature: 65° F

Running Hours: 1500hrs (10 hrs/day Nov-Mar)


RESULTS:

SURFACE TEMPERATURE:

No Insulation: Pipe Surface Temp: 212° F

1" Thickness: Insulation Surface Temp: 81° F

* Another crazy savings number! By adding only 1" of Fiberglass Pipe Insulation, the surface temperature drops 131° F. These numbers alone show how much heat the pipe insulation is retaining.


HEAT LOSS BTU/HR:

No Insulation: 48,124 btu/hr loss

1" Thickness: 7,109 btu/hr loss

* The heat loss for this heating system drops a staggering 85% by simply adding only 1 inch of fiberglass pipe insulation.


FUEL COST FOR LOSS:

No Insulation:$2,245 per heating season

1" Thickness: $335 per heating season ($1,910 saving/season)

*This is the cost for the heat loss (not total heating costs). By adding 1" thick pipe insulation the loss would be reduced by $1,910