Everyone knows “that guy” who parades around in shorts and a tee shirt in cold weather, often loudly proclaiming he is not cold. Others have likely seen an online video of someone downhill skiing in their underwear. Most of us would agree these people are ridiculous. Of course they are cold. Thermodynamics does not magically go away or change because someone wants to test their bravado. They should do the smart thing and throw on a jacket.
The same can thing can be said about bare heating and cooling piping around your facility. The pipe might look fine, and you may think they are not being affected by their surroundings. However, this is just as ridiculous as the examples above! Of course they are – and they too, should throw on a jacket. And don’t just insulate the piping. Insulate the fittings, pump heads, valves, and anything else that may be at the same temperature as the pipe. Not insulating these items is like putting on a jacket but never wearing a hat, gloves, or socks.
Insulation does wonders for heating and cooling piping. First, uninsulated piping trades gobs of energy with the surrounding spaces, causing heating and cooling source equipment to work even harder. This translates to higher utility bills, unhappy owners, and less money to spend on facility investments elsewhere.
Second are the no-brainer, non-energy benefits. For example, chilled water can get too warm to actually provide cooling after flowing down long lengths of uninsulated pipe. That raises the potential for people to get too warm in their offices and create complaints. Additionally, condensation will likely form on the pipe, potentially causing water damage and mold issues. Similarly, exposed heating pipes can easily overheat spaces.
So, be smarter with your facility than the guy skiing in his underwear or standing outside in the snow in shorts. Insulate your HVAC piping to keep all of the heating and cooling where it belongs. Inside the pipes.