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Thread: Insulating PEX against condensation

  1. #1

    Default Insulating PEX against condensation

    Following up on my earlier thread on Japanese plumbing:

    http://terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13720

    A friend just had the plumber upgrade the plumbing in his house build from PVC to PEX, and the contractor hit him with a $3000 upcharge. I thought this was a bit expensive, especially since PEX seems to be the plumbing of choice for low cost spec housing here. This got me to digging through the supplier catalogs to check out the prices of these supplies.

    What I found was that the total PEX system here is pretty expensive, in terms of tubing and parts. Lots of ten dollar brass fittings and brackets.

    On top of this, PEX tube itself lists at about $1.40 per foot, and on top of this, there seems to be a requirement or standard practice of adding insulation to the PEX at $0.75 per foot. I figure the steet price of this whole setup must be well over a dollar a foot. Which seems way high.

    Anyway, not only the piping, but also the headers and other metal parts have their own carefully crafted insulating blankets, and all this has the intention of defeating condensation.

    Is this really necessary? We're talking mixed heating climate, roughly North Carolina. Do y'all insulate your water lines in the South? Or, if the house is climate controlled, with humidity in the 50 percent range, is there going to be summer condensation on the plastic piping? Is this overkill in a house with centrall air conditioning?

  2. #2
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Default

    yeah, i agree. I think that any layer of anything cheap will do a good job in that climate. No condensation on the pipes, no big energy loss in the hot water line in winter, no freezing of the cold line either.

    david

  3. #3

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    I think that any kind insulation is a very good idea; however, at $0.75/foot I am not so keen on the idea. I think good quality PEX pipe itself shouldn't be more than half that price, and I can import Wirsbo or Rehau for that price, I think--it seems crazy to pay more for the insulation than the pipe.

    Or, rather, have you ever heard of or seen really cheap insulation of a size that would fit half inch PEX?

  4. #4

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    You can buy the insulation for about $1.70 per 6ft runs. Seems like you were overcharged. Unless the 75 cents is with labor.

    Tom

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