Current building energy codes and standards require pipe insulation on service hot water and HVAC piping. While requirements vary, none of the model codes differentiates pipe insulation requirements based on pipe material. Naturally, the amount of insulation needed depends on the design objectives of the system and the properties of the specific pipe material. For this reason, POLYMELT America often receives inquiries about the amount of insulation necessary for our PP-R piping systems.
Compared to metallic piping systems, our plastic piping enjoys a significantly lower thermal conductivity, which translates to lower heat transfer between the fluid and the ambient air. For many uninsulated piping systems, this can be a big advantage. Where insulation is required by energy codes, however, the impact of the pipe wall material on the overall heat transfer is generally small. For this reason, energy codes do not differentiate insulation requirements based on pipe wall material.
For uninsulated or bare pipe, the higher thermal resistance of plastic pipe walls can significantly reduce heat flows compared to copper piping. As insulation levels are increased, the impact of pipe wall resistance decreases significantly. At the insulation levels required by current energy codes and standards, the impact heat loss by the pipe wall material is small.
POLYMELT’s five-layer PP-R piping provide their own natural insulation unique to the pipe’s material properties. For most applications, both indoor and outdoor, our PP-R piping systems do not require external insulation to function as intended, saving contractors time and labor. However, energy codes do not differentiate insulation requirements based on pipe wall material. The requirements should always clear and easily verifiable. If you have any questions about how POLYMELT products conform to the energy codes in your region, contact us today for details.
The expected useful life of buildings can be 50 years or more. It is significantly easier and more cost effective to plan for and install proper mechanical insulation systems at the time of construction than to retrofit or upgrade the insulation systems later. Likewise, when facilities are being renovated or repaired, the opportunity to upgrade mechanical insulation systems should not be overlooked. POLYMELT America can help with planning new piping systems and retrofits. Before you make a decision on piping insulation for your system, talk with the experts at POLYMELT America.