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user007 12-21-2006 01:43 PM

Insulation of pex tubing?
I have a 'large' house with about 4000+ sq ft of radiant heat on my first floor that uses stadler heat panels with pex tubing run in them. I also have a huge basement (4000 sq ft, all unfinished space) that has pex tubing, manifolds and copper pipe running all over it to get to all the different zones in the house (carpet, wood, tile). My basement ceiling is insullated with thick (probably at least R-19 - whatever code is) insulation. Some of the pex is between the insulation and the floor, some of it is exposed (not insulated) to the basement. In addition, all the manifolds (probably 10 of them) are exposed to the basement. The copper pipe to the manifolds is all insulated with the standard 1" foam stuff. As a result of having pex and manifolds (and the whole hot water distribution system see below) exposed in the basement , my basement temperature is actually warmer than the house most of the time (65 degrees) and I believe I am wasting a lot of energy heating the basement.

I am looking for suggestions on the best way to insulate the manifolds and the hundreds of feet of exposed pex.

further, I have a corner of the basement with a wall of pumps, the furnace, temperature control loops, and distribution pipes that also generates a lot of heat. I asked the heating contractor (now out of business) if I can close in this area or cover up all the pumps and controllers with insulation to keep the heat in that area from heating the whole basement and he said not to do it as it may overheat the controllers (tekmar 360 and viessmann furnace controller). The furnace gets fresh air for combustion from the co-axial exhaust pipe so make up air is not required. Any thoughts on being able to enclose this whole heating section of the basement (10' x 12') to keep heat in there?

I am guessing that I am wasting a lot of energy heating this basement for no reason.

any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated. as i said, the contractor is now out of business so he is no help. I am on my own. I can send/post pictures if my question is not clear.


acefurnacefixer 12-21-2006 05:54 PM

PEX piping is freeze damage resistant and can expand and contract as water freezes and thaws within the tubing. No tubing material is freeze-break proof, however, and PEX should be installed using the same locally-prescribed insulation requirements to prevent freezing of any plumbing system. "

Sounds like some good ole r-13 between the joist will do the job.

Hope this helps........

hvacdesigner 12-21-2006 09:44 PM

PEX insulation
If... your basement is mostly underground and has little heat loss (windows, doors, etc.) then your basement would maintain approx. 55 degrees year round. With R-19 below your 1st floor radiant tubing, you are directing very little to the basement. All of the exposed transmission piping from the boiler out can add considerable heat to the basement. I would start with insulating the copper tubing with 1/2" wall armaflex and witness the results for a few days. If there is still too much heat in the basement for your liking, then move to insulating the PEX.

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