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Piping - Recommended Insulation Thickness

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To avoid heat loss and reduced system efficiency - pipe work in heating systems should always be insulated. Very hot systems, like hot water and steam systems should also be insulated to avoid potential personal injuries. 

The table below indicates recommended insulation thickness.

Piping - Recommended Insulation Thickness
Nominal Pipe Size
NPS
(inches)
Insulation Thickness (inches)*
Temperature Range (oC)
50 - 9090 - 120120 - 150150 - 230
Temperature Range (oF)
120 - 200201 - 250251 - 305306 - 450
Hot WaterLow Pressure SteamMedium Pressure SteamHigh Pressure Steam
< 1" 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5
1 1/4" - 2" 1.0 1.5 2.5 2.5
2 1/2" - 4" 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0
5" - 6" 1.5 2.0 3.0 3.5
> 8" 1.5 2.0 3.0 3.5

* based on insulation with thermal resistivity in the range 4 - 4.6 ft2 hr oF/ Btu in (typical for mineral wool at room temperature)

  • 1 inch = 25.4 mm
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Related Topics

Heat Loss and Insulation

Heat loss from pipes, tubes and tanks - with and without insulation - foam, fiberglass, rockwool and more.

Insulation

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Insulation Materials - Operating Temperature Limits

Temperature limits for commonly used insulation materials.

Mineral Wool Insulation

Thermal conductivity - k-values - vs. temperature.

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Thermal conductivity - k-values - vs. temperature.

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Conductive heat losses through cylinder or pipe walls.

Polyurethane Insulation

Thermal conductivity - k-values - vs. temperature.

Steam Pipes - Heat Losses

The amount of condensate generated in a steam pipe depends on the heat loss from the pipe to the surroundings.

Steam Pipes - Heat Losses (W/m)

Heat losses from un-insulated steam pipes.

Thermal Resistivity and Conductivity

The ability of a material to resist flow of heat.

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