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Old 01-19-2013, 04:55 PM   #1
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


Hey everyone-

I'm getting ready to insulate my basement walls with XPS and needed some tips/advice on how to get around many of the utilities that are currently attached to the walls in my 1950's ordinary construction home.

I attached photos of the anticipated problem areas. Plans right now involve 1.5 or 2" XPS of as much of the exterior wall as possible. Right now I think that I may have to make the sump pump and gas/water entry into separate closets without any wall insulation.

Any tips/ideas/suggestions are much appreciated!

Joe
Baltimore, MD
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:11 PM   #2
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


You really will not be able to fully insulate around the utilities. Especially the gas meter. You can always check with your gas utility, to see if they can relocate the meter outside of the house, vs. in the basement.

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Old 01-19-2013, 06:26 PM   #3
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


Are you planning on finishing it with drywall? I'd be a little worried about using XPS board - it's highly flammable.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:36 PM   #4
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


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Originally Posted by tibberous View Post
Are you planning on finishing it with drywall? I'd be a little worried about using XPS board - it's highly flammable.
Everything is flammable. As long as they follow proper protocol, finish with drywall, they should be safe. But it also comes down to what their AHJ states regarding the use of the material, without any type of fireproof covering over it.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:58 PM   #5
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


Yes, the walls will be fully finished w/ drywall. Thanks for the tip about relocating the meter, but it's probably not realistic for the budget scope of my project.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:04 PM   #6
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


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Yes, the walls will be fully finished w/ drywall. Thanks for the tip about relocating the meter, but it's probably not realistic for the budget scope of my project.
One, it is realistic, and no it should be no charge from your gas utility to have them relocate it outside. If you are stating that you have a small budget, then it sounds that you are not going to realize that the job you are taking on, can be more than you realize.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:14 PM   #7
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


Do you really have a gas meter in your basement?
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:31 PM   #8
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


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Do you really have a gas meter in your basement?
It is in the OP first picture. We have them mostly in apartment buildings where I live, or the older brownstones on the outer edge of our downtown. I love the one house here, that the meter is around 12 feet off the ground, just below the roof line.
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:57 PM   #9
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


That first photo is pretty dark for me.

Is it safe to have them inside, and how do you shut them off when the house is on fire?

Seems like they "leak" or vent a lot of gas here. It is common to smell gas around them and the gas company says not to worry.

I don't know. Is there an advantage to having them inside, other than the weather?
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:59 PM   #10
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


Keeps people from messing with them, but yes they should be outside.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:19 AM   #11
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
One, it is realistic, and no it should be no charge from your gas utility to have them relocate it outside. If you are stating that you have a small budget, then it sounds that you are not going to realize that the job you are taking on, can be more than you realize.
It's a perfectly functioning gas meter. If I ask the gas company to relocate the meter outdoors I will be paying the full price, and that ain't cheap! My budget is enough for what I want to do, just not going to be adding extra expenses if I can find a work around.

I'll probably end up just making the area immediately around the gas meter/water service a small closet, leaving the walls there bare without foam board.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:33 AM   #12
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Getting XPS Foamboard around existing utilities...


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Originally Posted by cleveman View Post
That first photo is pretty dark for me.

Is it safe to have them inside, and how do you shut them off when the house is on fire?

Seems like they "leak" or vent a lot of gas here. It is common to smell gas around them and the gas company says not to worry.

I don't know. Is there an advantage to having them inside, other than the weather?

Gas meter's inside dwellings are commonplace here in Maryland. Nowadays, they are placed outside, but all of the older homes have them indoors. Truthfully, it's no different than having a gas appliance inside your home. The only time the meter would vent gas is if the diaphragm went bad or is starting to fail, which is why they should not be closed off in a sealed closet. Any door to a gas meter closet should be louvered, to allow the odor to be quickly detected by residents. The odor of mercaptan (the odorant in natural gas) is detectable by the human nose at the parts per billion level, while natural gas doesn't reach a flammable range until it gets to 38,000 parts per million in air...a HUGE difference and great early warning sign.

I'm a fireman for a profession ironically. When there's a fire, we do what all firemen do...go inside, find the meter, and turn the valve off. It's really that simple. If a house is on fire, the homeowner/resident should NOT be worrying about shutting the gas off! Get out and stay out. Also, the gas can always be shut off at the street as well.

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