Insulating exposed pipes in bottom unit of duplex

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by Vermont homeowner, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Vermont homeowner

    Vermont homeowner New Member

    Oct 14, 2008
    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. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Jul 30, 2008
    Tech. Instructor
    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
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  4. geniescience

    geniescience Homeowner

    Nov 27, 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold
    = 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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