When insulating any building services, ensuring continuity is essential, writes Marc Nickels, business development managerKingspan Technical Insulation.

Any gaps in the insulation layer can easily act as a fast-track for heat transfer – undermining system performance.

This issue is especially critical at pipe supports, hangar brackets and clamps as these components repeat across the length of pipework.

If they are not properly insulated, they can allow significant levels of heat transfer. When insulating these areas, it is important to use inserts which are designed to handle the compressive loads of horizontal pipework carrying water whilst also providing effective insulation and maintaining the vapour barrier.

Kingspan Kooltherm Insulated Pipe Support Inserts feature a premium performance phenolic insulation core, helping to effectively isolate pipework.

Insulated pipe support options

A range of materials have been used to isolate pipework at supports in the past, including rubber-lined clips and wooden blocks. However, it is now recommended that wooden pipe supports should not be used in any application.

This is for a number of reasons including an increased risk of condensation forming on the blocks, difficulty maintaining effective vapour barriers, and the relatively poor thermal properties of wood which can lead to significant heat transfer.

The most common alternative to wooden blocks is phenolic insulated pipe support inserts. These provide excellent levels of thermal performance, allowing pipework to be effectively isolated with slim inserts.

They are available in a variety of different densities depending on the pipework diameter and compressive strength requirements for the application. Phenolic pipe insulation support inserts are typically faced with an aluminium foil which provides a continuous vapour barrier on below ambient systems.

In practice, the thermal conductivity of phenolic insulated pipe support inserts is notably lower than alternative approaches such as using wooden blocks, fitting rubber lined clips or uninsulated metal clips. This means that heat transfer at these points can be reduced, supporting more efficient system performance. 

It is recommended within key industry standards that insulated pipe support inserts be of the same material (or compatible with) the insulation used on the pipe.

Phenolic pipe insulation products are available for a wide range of pipe diameters and can achieve low thermal conductivities. This can allow pipework to be insulated to a high level with a slim thickness of insulation, supporting installation within tight spaces.

Supports you can rely on

Ensuring effective building services performance is essential, both to limit the operational costs of buildings and their operational carbon emissions. Pipework that is properly insulated across its full length is one of the most fundamental steps to delivering this over the long term.

By combining phenolic pipe insulation and pipe support inserts, installers and specifiers can have confidence that heat transfer from pipework will be effectively limited over the long-term.

For more information: Kingspan Insulation Ltd, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan. T: +353 (0) 42 975 4219. E: hvactechnical@kingspaninsulation.co.uk