Insulating steam pipes

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This is our first winter in a beautiful 200+ year old house. Unfortunately, we've already found that the basement is by far the warmest part of the place! The steam furnace is fairly new (about 5 years), but almost all the steam pipes running through the basement are bare.
Rather than moving the family down to the basement until spring, I'd like to insulate the exposed steam pipes. They're definitely iron (some are rusting), and range about 4-6" in diameter. I made a trip to the box stores and saw several types of insulation with varying prices.
I don't want to assume that expensive is best, so I'd appreciate some recommendations.
Thanks ---
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Look for the foil encased bubble wrap. Reflectix is the name. Wrap around your pipes and yu will notice the difference. Even at fullon steam you can still hold the reflectix covered pipe as it reflects 90 % of heat. There is foil tape made for high heat too. I recommend this 1000%

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Find out what size pipes you have. Go to your local plumbing supply. Note: Plumbing supply, not Home Depot. Ask for pipe insulation of the size you need for your pipes. It comes in about 4' lengths and is easily cut as needed, wrapped and taped.
I love steam heat.
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I'd reccomend asbestos with a plaster jacket.
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wrote:

Wouldn't a dust mask and goggles protect you better than a plaster jacket?
R
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Extra thick around the head. Covers eyes, nose, mouth.
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http://www.mesothelioma-lawsuits-asbestos.com /
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Pipe insulation is maybe best and HD doesnt carry it, but I just insulated a few hundred feet with 24" wide 6" thick fiberglass batts paper faced, just tie it on with wire, It was cheap and quick. Check R value of the real pipe insulation, forget bubble wrap its junk. You might order white, no formaldehyde, encased in plastic, that would be the cleanest but its a special order.
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If there is no insulation now then Asbestos was likely removed, you might want to have dust samples taken or at least look into it..
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As the fiberglass and paper dry out from the heat you will see disintegration. The Reflectix is the way to go. Easy to work with and definitely will keep house warmer .

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On Nov 8, 1:56 pm, snipped-for-privacy@backpacker.com wrote:

Reflextic has little R value, What is its certified R value, im in dought it has anything close to its advertisement. Ive had fiberglass on pipes for 20 years, since when does Fiber Glass dry out, For value of true R value Fiberglass, then Pipe insulation the reflextic would be last
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All I know is IT WORKS!!! Was cheap and easy to work with. If I can comfrtably hold a steam pipe I know its reflecting and/or containing the heat.. R value is meaningless in a situation like this where results are what matter. Aesthetics also play a role as well. I'll take the silver look of reflectix over the half-a**ed look of wall insulation wired over the pipes.
\\> > - Show quoted text -

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Quality pipe insulation will work better and last way longer than that stuff. http://www.owenscorning.com/comminsul/products.asp?product 
Bob

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How will it work better? R- value is similar. Costs are not. I'll take the inexpensive and effective solution any day.

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On Nov 8, 3:52 pm, snipped-for-privacy@backpacker.com wrote:

Reflextic site says R4 total and down plays R value, Owens Corning is R5 per inch, I have seen the product 2-3" inches thick, it is a superior product made for the job. I used fiberglass batts in unused basements of 6" thick, that is about R 21. It was just quicker, cheaper and easy to install. I will bet reflextic to have the highest cost per R value.
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I dare you to try the two and I bet the reflectix will have the same outer temperature. Who needs 3" of insulation on a steam pipe when 3/8" or less of reflectix will do the same for less $$$.

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snipped-for-privacy@backpacker.com wrote:

That's what they say about the Q-Ray bracelet.
- Rodger
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The cost of reflextic will be tripple, its overpriced.
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Doubtful. A roll isabout $14. It can be cut lengthwise as necessary to wrap the pipes. Gives a good appearance. I did my steam pipes for about $40.

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On Nov 9, 6:01 am, snipped-for-privacy@backpacker.com wrote:

If you bother to check out the manufacturer specs on Reflextic, you'll notice that the stuff is only rated for +180F. All steam systems run higher than that temp by at least 32 (at phase change), and even more depending on the pressure that you run you system at. And yes, I realize that if you take a temp reading off of an uninsulated steam pipe (especially in an uninsulated crawl space) that the surface temp of the pipe could be less than 180. The surface temp of the steam pipe is only the equalibrium temperature of the steam inside the pipe and the heat loss by conduction through the pipe wall. By insulating the pipes you are, by definition, raising their surface temperature. Ideally you raise their surface temperature to the same temperature as the steam inside in the pipe. The better this Reflextic works, the more you are raising the application temperature above the product rating. Don't be surprised if the Reflextic needs to be replaced (resulting in increased costs) due to significant degradation over a much shorter time than a standard application.
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