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Thread: Insulating exposed pipes in bottom unit of duplex

  1. #1

    Default Insulating exposed pipes in bottom unit of duplex

    I hope someone out there can help with this dilemma. I own a two story duplex in Vermont (upstairs/downstairs). Last fall we replaced an aging oil-fired boiler with two separate gas boilers so that each unit now controls (and pays for) their own heat (and hot water).

    Here's the problem. All of the boiler pipes for the second story run outside of the walls in the unit below. We suspect that there's some heat loss, which is good for the downstairs unit but very bad for the folks upstairs who are paying for that heat.

    I'm wondering just how much (percentage-wise) of heat is being lost this way and, more importantly, the best way to fix it. I'm inclined to install the foam pipe insulation sleeves, but it's not gonna be pretty. Is there anything else on the market that would be less obtrusive and unattractive? I'd hate to have to build chases in each room.


  2. #2
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    S. Maine


    You definatly should insulate all exposed heat pipes no matter where they are. Foam is a good choice. Use Armor-Flex brand, not that crap they sell at H.D. and Lowes

  3. #3
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold


    Quote Originally Posted by Vermont homeowner View Post
    .... run outside of the walls in the unit below. ...
    = indoors, but visible since they are not hidden inside a wall. (?).

    Cover them any way you want to, or not. Although there is some heat loss, it isn't a primary cause of heat loss for the building, to the outdoors.

    The heat remains indoors. A second story apartment has a warm floor because heated air downstairs hugs the downstairs ceiling and warms their floor.

    The amount of heat their pipes are releasing into your living space is "big" or "small" depending on your reference point but what deserves attention is closing air leaks in the outside walls and windows. That will make a difference in occupant comfort (perceived temperature differential) and in winter heating costs.


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