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5.1 Appendix A: Photographs of Mechanical Insulation Issues

This section illustrates examples of some mechanical insulation issues from the field[23].



[23] Pipes Need Jackets Too: Conserving Energy, Saving Money and Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in BC Buildings through Mechanical Insulation Practice and Standards. HB Lanarc, January 2011.

Detail showing circulation pumps on a hydronic distribution system

Detail showing circulation pumps on a hydronic distribution system
When installed properly, the service life of the insulation will usually match the service life of the piping, ducts or equipment it is installed on. Read more

Detail showing un-insulated hydronic distribution system and heat exchanger for domestic hot water system

Detail showing un-insulated hydronic distribution system and heat exchanger for domestic hot water system
However, it is common to not see insulation in mechanical rooms and on pipe and duct runs through buildings. Energy is often wasted by transfer into unheated areas that don’t need any heat (e.g. mechanical rooms) or pipe chases. Read more

Detail showing backflow preventer on domestic water supply line. Note the water dripping from the device.

Detail showing backflow preventer on domestic water supply line. Note the water dripping from the device.
It is common to see condensation on un-insulated sections of domestic water piping and fittings. This photo shows condensation on a backflow preventer. Generally fittings are made of brass or stainless steel and these are not affected by some condensation; however, there will be an increased heat transfer rate due to condensation. Read more

Detail showing corrosion damage to pipe fittings as the result of condensation

Detail showing corrosion damage to pipe fittings as the result of condensation
Where carbon steel piping or fittings are used, the affects of condensation may be more serious Read more

Detail showing heat exchangers used with domestic water system approximately 12 years old

Detail showing heat exchangers used with domestic water system approximately 12 years old
Where carbon steel piping or fittings are used, the affects of condensation may be more serious. Also, condensation can damage building elements such as drywall, ceiling tile and concrete below dripping pipes. On this image, note the build up of deposits on the heat exchangers. Read more

Detail showing rubber insulation on a hot gas refrigerant line. The insulation should be jacketed to protect it from sun and birds.

Detail showing rubber insulation on a hot gas refrigerant line. The insulation should be jacketed to protect it from sun and birds.
Problems with insulation are not limited to whether there is insulation installed or not. Sometimes designers or contractors have made poor choices or have not adequately protected the insulation from environmental damage. Read more