Can I Use Expanding Foam Around Heating Pipes?

Expanding or spray foam is a good insulation material. But, you might wonder, can you use it to insulate your heating pipes? We researched this question for you, and here is what we found. 

Yes, you can use expanding foam to insulate your heating pipes. Aside from being an excellent insulation material, it can also endure the heat your pipes emit.

Read on as we discuss the process of wrapping your heating pipes with expanding foam. We'll also give you reasons why you should use it. Additionally, we'll cover the R-value of this insulation material, how long it lasts, and if it can affect your piping materials. Furthermore, we'll also cover the types you can use.

thermal insulation with spray foam, brick walls and pipes at construction site - Can I Use Expanding Foam Around Heating Pipes - Can I Use Expanding Foam Around Heating Pipes

How To Wrap Your Heating Pipes With Expanding Foam

Before starting this task, you must first read and understand the manufacturer's label instructions. Also, make sure that you have the right product in your hands. Now, to wrap the heating pipes with expanding foam, you need to: 

1. Prepare The Area To Be Applied And The Spray Foam To Be Used

Make sure that the surface of your pipe is clean to make the foam adhere to the surface better. Shake the bottle for a good minute, then insert the dispenser at the exit hole of the spray foam. Check the consistency of the foam by test-spraying it on a piece of cardboard. 

2. Spray The Foam To The Pipe Gap

Fill the gaps around the pipe and make sure that the can is inverted as you spray it. Continue doing so until you're satisfied with how the foam fills the gap. Remove any excess foam by wiping it down. 

3. Let The Foam Cure

Wait 15 minutes to let the foam cure. After that, cut off any excess foam that's getting in the way. You can do this by using a utility knife. 

Worker hand holding polyurethane expanding foam glue gun applicator. Construction foam sticking out of the wall. Adhesion Compressing, squeeze firm.

Why Should You Use Expanding Foam To Insulate Your Heater Pipes?

Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy when you wrap your hot pipes with expanding foam: 

Reduce Noise Level

Noise is lessened when you wrap your pipes with expanding foam since it prevents the pipes from knocking the wall and even manages the vibrational noise flowing water makes. 

Fills Gaps And Support Pipes

When you insulate a loose shower head pipe, it fills the gaps, prevents movement, and locks the pipe in place. Additionally, heating pipes' dimensional changes can be accommodated with expanding foam.

Ease Of Use

It's incredibly simple to use. Simply spray it into the gap, which needs to be filled, and that's all there is to it.

Protects Your Pipes From Rodents And Mold Growth

Although the foam can be destroyed by rodents, inserting steel wool before wrapping them with expanding foam helps protect your pipes. 

It suppresses the growth of mold and fungi as well as the condensation of water vapor.

How Much Heat Can An Expanding Foam Take?

At maximum, this material can endure up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Although, some types can resist heat up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, you should remember not to apply it on a surface with a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. 

What Is The R-Value Of Expanding Foam Insulation?

The R-value of spray foam ranges from R-3.6 to R-7.

R-values for open-cell foam range from R-3.6/inch to R-3.9/inch. On the other hand, closed-cell foam's R-value ranges from R-6/inch to R-7/inch.

Are Expanding Foam And Spray Foam Insulation The Same?

thermal insulation with spray foam, brick walls and pipes at construction site

In a way, they are. Spray foam is a type of expanding foam where you can spray it to any surface you wish to insulate, including heating pipes. 

Can Expanding Foam Corrode Copper Heating Pipes?

Plumbing service. copper pipeline of a heating system in boiler room

No, it won't. Although heated copper pipes can rapidly degrade your foam insulation, you can opt to use a fireproof one to avoid this from happening. 

You can read more about this here: "Does Expanding Foam Corrode Copper Pipes?"

Does Expanding Foam Cause Damage To Plastic Heating Pipes?

Spray foam insulation frequently contains compounds that are incompatible with CPVC pipes. These compounds are amines and chlorinated phosphate esters. 

Under the right circumstances, each of these chemical incompatibilities can cause environmental stress cracking in CPVC piping, and they are all well-known to chemists, polymer scientists, and other professionals in the engineering and construction fields.

What Are The Risks Of Using Expanding Foam To Insulate Your Heating Pipes?

As your heating pipe is always hot, continuous exposure of the foam to the heat can lead to gas emissions

Given that expanding foam is created using polyol resin and isocyanate, both of which are sensitive to temperature changes, it will be unable to avoid this. 

When you are eventually within a short distance of the expanding foam-sealed space surrounding the heating pipes, you can smell a chemical odor.

How Long Does Expanding Foam Last?

The best thing about expanding foams is that they last for a really long time. Insulation made of injection and spray foam will never degrade or lose its shape over time. Due to the material's long lifespan, foam insulation is an investment that only needs to be made once.

What Are The Types Of Expansion Foams Can You Use?

Depending on how far they can expand beyond the liquid size, expanding foam products can be divided into two major types: high and low expansion. 

High Expansion Foam

In commercial and industrial environments, high expansion foam is frequently utilized to swiftly seal off wide gaps and breaches in doors and windows.

Additionally, it is frequently used to patch up holes left by the running of water, gas, and electrical lines in the masonry and foundation.

This kind of expanding foam has an expansion range of 200–300 times greater than its liquid size.

Low Expansion Foam

This type of foam, on the other hand, has a maximum expansion of 20-30 times its liquid volume.

Additionally, this type is an excellent option for home repairs because of the smaller size, which makes gaps, cracks, and utility holes more common.

While high expansion foam would quickly seep out and leave a messy mess, low expansion foam is considerably simpler to handle.

Can You Insulate Gas Pipes With Expanding Foam?

Yes, you can. In addition to being a superb insulator, it also serves as an air and moisture barrier. It can be used for insulation and air sealing, which can help your home consume less energy.

So when you finish applying the foam to the gas pipe, you might see that the foam extended outside the gap once it had dried; simply trim off the extra, then sand the surface to achieve a smooth finish.

How Thick Should You Apply Insulation To Your Hot Water Pipes?

polyurethane foam filled pipe in the wall

By reducing heat loss through the pipework, insulating water pipes can reduce energy consumption. Insulating pipes will lessen their vulnerability to condensation buildup, which can result in mold growth and moisture damage.

You can insulate your pipes with a 3/4" thick expanding foam. When you do this, it reduces your annual energy consumption by 4% to 5%.

How Do You Prevent Your Heating Pipes From Leaking?

Here are some tips to avoid your insulated pipes from leaking:

  • Obviously, the first thing to do is to insulate your pipes. Along with minimizing plumbing leaks, pipe insulation has a variety of other advantages, one of which is its potential for energy savings, as mentioned in the previous sections.
  • Control your water pressure. High water pressure can severely damage your pipes and shorten their lifespan. As water pressure rises, all the joints and valves in your plumbing system experience higher stress. 
  • Regularly maintain your boiler and have it serviced periodically. By doing this, you will discover and find solutions to any underlying issues your central heating system might have.
  • It is vital to know the location of your pipes. So when you decide to drive a screw in your wall, you won't risk the chance of bursting your pipes as well. 

In Summary

Expanding foam is an excellent insulation material to use for your heating pipes. It has a high R-value. Not only that, but since it is applied as a liquid foam, it fits the area you apply it, and ensures that it is sealed completely. 

They are best to use when you have noisy pipelines or when you want to protect your pipes from rodent attacks and mold growth. 

Finally, this insulation material lasts indefinitely, so you don't have to worry about its degradation over time. 

If you enjoyed this article, you could check out these other posts: 

Expanding Foam Stickability - Does It Stick To Metal, Plastic, Wood, Glass, & PVC?

How To Clean An Expanding Foam Nozzle For Reuse

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