HVAC

Published on September 29th, 2013 | by Henri

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Replacing asbestos pipe insulation

Q.   We recently had the asbestos wrap insulation professionally removed from our heating pipes in the basement although we were told, when we bought the house four years ago, there was no need to remove it. I feel better that it’s not there anymore. Our home is heated by steam heat.

We did not re-insulate the pipes and are not sure if it is necessary. After all, when the furnace is running, the basement is warm and I would think that the warm air would rise up through the floor into the first floor area. Should we insulate the pipes? My husband and I have been debating this for months.

A.   If the asbestos was in good condition it needn’t be removed, according to the EPA and the CPSC (Consumer Protection Safety Commission). However, for anyone who has young children who play in the basement, it is a good idea to have the asbestos encapsulated to avoid damage in case of rough play. The important thing is that you feel better having had it removed.

I would recommend re-insulating the steam pipes with special fiberglass pipe insulation to keep the steam hot all the way through the system. Unless you insulate the pipes, the steam may cool and condense before it has a chance to heat the farthest radiator. The steam boiler’s radiated and convected heat is sufficient to keep your basement warm.

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