Is It Okay To Spray "Great Stuff Foam" Around Copper Pipe and Copper Fittings?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by turbocruiser, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    Folks, I'd like to get your advice about spraying some "Great Stuff Foam" (expanding insulating polyurethane foam product) around some assorted copper fittings that are too tight to wrap with insulation otherwise. Will this stuff hurt either the copper or the solder? Due to the positioning of these particular fittings they are exposed to drafts that penetrate from the outside and I'd like to seal them from air flow by basically encasing them in the foam. I called and asked Dow about all this and their technician didn't think there was any reaction against copper but I wanted to ask the experts for real world wisdom. I'm sure this is one of those things you see all the time with either good or bad results. Thanks for any advice you have.
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,452
    Location:
    Connecticut
    While there may not be a reaction with the copper you should realize that insulation only slows the freezing process but does not stop it entirely.

    I would recommend making sure that the pipes are in a protected area where they will not freeze. I.E. instead of putting them in an outside wall having them come up out of the floor for a sink or, toilet.

    If they do freeze and burst or, start to leak when encased in foam they will be much more difficult to repair. I would use a more easily removed insulation.
  3. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    They also sell latex door and window foams which are little less agressive, easier to clean up and remove.
  4. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    Okay, just to follow this up thoroughly, ... after talking to the tech line at Dow, reading their MSDS sheets and reading their User sheets (including cleanup information) I found out there are three substances that Great Stuff won't stick to ... they are polyethylene & polystyrene, teflon and wax ... so I simply coated the copper pipes with wax and waited awhile for it to dry then I sprayed the foam throughout the void that I was trying to fill. It worked wonderfully well. Prior to doing this procedure permanently I practiced with pipe coated with wax and sure enough even though the foam fit over the pipe tightly it was super easy to excavate with my fingers and it came completely cleanly off of the copper tubing. No mess with it whatsoever. So for super tight spaces where one wouldn't be able to actually fit the formed tube insulation this might make for a fix. Just passing this on in the hope it helps. Thanks again for the advice.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,904
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    It does make sense if you have a cold draft. I've seen cold air follow heat ducts and freeze pipes that were near the ducts.
    This was on a home with no power or heat, but the air ducts allowed cold air flow.
  6. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    Thanks I appreciate the advice so much. In this case the tub and the shower and the surround extend out past the wall that really makes my eastern facing exterior wall. So the shower valve itself is slightly slightly off center from centering on that one wall. The framing there is totally overbuilt with two 2x4 studs from the regular wall meeting up with three 2x4 studs for the interior wall/exterior extension and then those three are wrapped with two 2x6's which are what that interior wall is with drain lines as well as supply lines inside. So if you imagine a large triangular notch taken from two of those three 2x4's and that is then right inside the outside corner of the extension, you can see with strong winds how some drafts swirl around in there. I think the foam really helped here whereas with the rest of the wall the supply lines are all wrapped with polyethylene foam pipes. If I can figure out how to post pics I might do that in the hope it helps others. Thanks again for all the advice.
  7. markore

    markore In the Trades

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    North Pole
    MONEY! Thank you.
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