HEAT LOSS COST CALCULATION VS. INSULATING WITH FIBERGLASS PIPE INSULATION
It's that time of year again! Here is our 4th Heat Loss Calculation! 2020 has been a rough year to say the least, jobs have been lost, money is tight, and lowering utility bills will help more than you would think. Its easy to say adding pipe insulation to your heating pipes will save you money but customers sometimes like to see approximately how much money. There are a lot of different factors and everyone's situation is different but below we will show one example of how much money will be saved by installing fiberglass pipe insulation on heating pipes.
This calculation is based on the steam piping for our customer John from Lodi, New Jersey. John and his wife planned on selling their home last year and paid a contractor to remove the asbestos pipe insulation in their basement. Their plans have changed and they are bothered by the elevated temperatures in their basement due to the pipes being left bare. They now realize that they may be inadvertently heating the basement rather than the upstairs. This post will help guestimate approximately how much money John will be saving by adding insulation to the bare pipes.
*Please keep in mind that each scenario is different so your savings amount may be much higher or less than this scenario.
Thermal Image showing temperature difference between insulated and non-insulated piping
DOLLAR SAVINGS FROM FIBERGLASS PIPE INSULATION EXAMPLE:
Fuel Type: Gas
Fuel Cost: $0.69/therm
Pipe Size: 2-1/2" to 1-1/4"
Pipe Length: 120 ft
Pipe Temperature: 240°F
Basement Temperature: 60°F (avg when system is off)
Running Hours: 1500hrs per year
No Insulation: Pipe Surface Temp: 240°F
1" Thickness: Insulation Surface Temp: 80°F
* These results are always mind boggling. By adding only 1 inch of fiberglass pipe insulation, the surface temperature drops 160°F. These numbers alone show how much heat the pipe insulation is retaining.
HEAT LOSS BTU/HR:
No Insulation: 41,400 btu/hr loss
1" Thickness: 5,300 btu/hr loss
* The heat loss for this heating system drops a staggering 87% by simply adding only 1 inch of fiberglass pipe insulation.
FUEL COST FOR LOSS:
No Insulation: $430 per heating season
1" Thickness: $80 per heating season ($350 saving/season)
*This is the cost for the heat loss (not total heating costs). By adding 1" thick pipe insulation the loss would be reduced by $350
*The biggest flaw in our calculation is not factoring in the reduction of the boiler running time. We can assume that with insulation on the pipes, the thermostat will make temperature quicker allowing the boiler to turn off and run less during the season. We have no way to accurately calculating this savings, so we omit it from our savings calculation.
ACTUAL COST OF INSULATING PIPING:
120ft of mixed pipe insulation in 1" thickness for John's basement with shipping costs came to $327. In this scenario the cost of the pipe insulation comes out to a 1 year ROI (Return on Investment). Meaning the money that the insulation will save John pays for the pipe insulation in the first year. Every year from then on out John should expect to save $350 on his gas bill. John's cost of gas is the cheapest of the 4 scenarios we have run in the past however his ROI still doesn't surpass 1 year!
OTHER EXAMPLES WE RAN IN THE PAST: