About Pipe Insulation
Pipe insulation sold on PexUniverse is Nomaco brand (now Armacell), ImcoLock & EconoTherm series, polyethylene closed-cell pipe insulation. It is intended for use in a wide range of applications, including hot & cold water plumbing, hydronic heating and many others. ImcoLock and EconoTherm are both suitable for indoor, outdoor and underground installations. Nomaco insulation is made in the USA using up to 100% recycled content.
Selecting proper size and type of pipe insulation
for all insulation is designated in OD (outside diameter). This simply means that ID (Inside Diameter) of the insulation corresponds to the maximum OD size of the piping over which it is installed.
Keep in mind that nominal (CTS) size of copper, PEX and CPVC pipes is always 1/8" less than actual OD: 1/2" copper/PEX/CPVC is 5/8" OD, 3/4" copper/PEX/CPVC is 7/8" OD and so on. So if you need insulation for 1-1/4" copper pipe, correct size is 1-1/4" + 1/8" = 1-3/8" OD.
determines the effectiveness of the insulation and it’s R-value. The higher the R-value, the more effective is the insulation. In certain (especially colder) areas of the country, a particular wall thickness may be recommended or required by code.
Examples of R-values for insulations used with 3/4" copper pipe:
3/8" wall – R-value 2.5; 1/2" wall – R-value 3.3; 1" wall – R-value 7.2
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Can this insulation be used for steam pipes?
A: No. The operating temperature must be below 210°F.
Q: Is it necessary to insulate CPVC pipes?
A: CPVC pipes have little inherent R-value (3/4" CPVC pipe has only 0.09) and therefore would need to be insulated in the same manner as copper or PEX pipes.
Q: Which pipes is this insulation compatible with?
A: Most of the ImcoLock and EconoTherm pipe insulation we carry is designed for CTS sized piping, including Copper (K, L, M types), PEX tubing (all types) and CPVC pipes. Select sizes also work for PVC pipes (Schedule 40 & 80) as well as threaded pipes (black, brass and steel). Always refer to individual product description to ensure compatibility with a particular pipe size and type.
Q: What does “Semi-split” mean?
A: Semi-split insulation is split only partially (about 3/4 of the way), so it can be slid over the pipe with no need for taping it. At the same time, semi-split type insulation can be fully split by hand to snap over existing piping. In that case, adhesive poly tape must be used to cover the seams.
Q: What is the difference in R-value of 3/8", 1/2" and 1" pipe insulation?
A: 3/8" vs. 1/2" - 25-30% difference. 3/8" vs. 1" - about 160-180% difference. 1/2" vs. 1" – about 100-120% difference.
Q: How do I know which wall thickness is right for my area?
A: Check your local building code for recommended/required pipe insulation wall thickness. While in warmer areas 3/8" wall may be sufficient, others require 1/2" or thicker by code.
Q: Can I use zip ties to secure the seams?
A: In general, it is hard to ensure a proper seam sealing with zip ties and therefore we do not recommend it. Adhesive poly tape is a much better option and would cost about the same.
Q: Do I need to use poly tape with this insulation?
A: Tape is required when installing insulation over fittings (especially copper press fittings), elbows, bends and P-traps and/or when installing non-self-sealing insulation.
Q: Why self-seal pipe insulation sometimes split at the seams?
A: This happen when:
1. Insulation is undersized (pipe OD larger than insulation ID) – in this case, a proper solution would be to replace it with a correctly sized one.
2. Insulation is deformed (i.e. installed over the pipe fittings or bends) – the solution is to use poly tape and/or make segmented cuts per installation instructions.
3. Installation conditions were too cold. In this case, refer to manufacturers instructions on installing insulation in cold weather.