What is Pipe Insulation?

Your HVAC needs insulation to protect the system and pipes from various environmental factors. Most systems come with insulated pipes, but they may degrade and lose their effectiveness over time. Hence, it's important to know the basics of insulating pipes should your HVAC pipe insulations need some touching up.

What Is Pipe Insulation?

Pipe insulation refers to the use of insulating material to wrap external pipe parts in an HVAC system. Materials that can be used for insulating pipes include rubber, polyurethane, cork, wool, or fiberglass. Polyurethane foam is the most preferred insulating material today due to its lightness, low thermal conductivity, strength, and long resistance to deterioration.

In a cooling system, pipe insulation can usually be found:

  • In the cold line – Pipe insulation in this area is done to prevent air from leaking, which ultimately leads to moisture condensation along the pipe.
  • In the suction line – Pipes are insulated to prevent heat gain. When a heat gain happens, sweating or loss of capacity starts to burden the HVAC’s condenser, drastically reducing your system’s overall capacity to cool an environment.

Pipes on an HVAC’s liquid line and discharge line need not be insulated.