Home generalInsulate Heating Pipes - DIY instructions in 9 steps

Insulate Heating Pipes - DIY instructions in 9 steps

  • Insulation of the heating pipes
    • Step 1 - Inventory
    • Step 2 - Select the appropriate insulation thickness
    • Step 3 - The different materials
    • Step 4 - Cutting the insulating shells
    • Step 5 - Insert slots
    • Step 6 - Turn off the heating system
    • Step 7 - Damp bends and curves
    • Step 8 - insulate fittings and valves
    • Step 9 - Isolate
  • Comparison of materials and costs
    • 1. plastic: polyurethane (PUR) or polyethylene (PE)
    • 2. Rubber / synthetic rubber
    • 3. mineral wool / rock wool
  • Conclusion

Many people underestimate the costs of poorly insulated heating pipes. It is estimated that non-insulated pipes will cost up to € 15 to € 25 per meter per year. However, these costs can be avoided. It is important to provide sufficient insulation to keep energy costs low and to protect the environment. In our guide we will inform you about the required materials, the procedure and the costs to insulate the heating pipe.

The pipe insulation is attached with a few simple steps and can be realized even for small money. It is crucial to pay attention to the correct attachment so that the insulation effect is achieved. Most commonly uninsulated pipes are found directly in the boiler room. Already there expensive heat is lost unused. But even with transitions between apartments in apartment buildings or between individual floors in single-family homes can be found corresponding vulnerabilities. Read how best to proceed and select the right pipe insulation for every situation.

Material and tools:

  • Folding rule and measuring tape
  • Pen and paper
  • electrical tape
  • ruler
  • sharp knife (straight blade)
  • ruler
  • Insulation shells

Insulation of the heating pipes

Step 1 - Inventory

First, you need to take stock. This will give you an overview of the material needed and can set up a plan for the insulation. Therefore answer the following questions:

  • How big is the insulating track ">

    Tip: Since the diameter of the heating pipes can not be easily determined when the installation has already been completed, you can determine this value over the circumference. Measure the circumference with the aid of a thread and a folding rule or with a very flexible measuring tape. Then you determine the diameter

    Measure circumference - calculate diameter

    Calculate diameter

    Circumference = Pi x diameter

    Pi can be estimated by the value 3.1415. If you change the formula according to the diameter, the result is the following rule:

    Diameter = circumference / Pi = circumference / 3.1415

    example calculation

    For example, suppose the pipes are 9, 429 centimeters in circumference. Then the following size results for the diameter:

    Diameter = circumference / 3.1415 = 9.4290 / 3.1415 = 3 centimeters

    Note that this is the outer diameter of the tubes. This is crucial for the selection of insulation.

    Step 2 - Select the appropriate insulation thickness

    When you select the insulation materials, the relationship between the insulation thickness and the pipe diameter is important. If you find the product "EnEV 100 percent" on the products, then this means that the pipe diameter and insulation thickness are approximately the same. If the pipes are located in unheated rooms or basements, then this insulation quality is the right choice. For heated rooms you can also use "EnEV 50 percent" .

    Tip: The better the insulation, the higher the achievable effect and thus the potential savings in heating costs. However, you must also consider the available space. If there is enough space between the pipes, you can also use larger pipe shells with a higher insulation thickness. Although the investment costs increase in this case, these are usually compensated for by savings.

    Various insulation thicknesses (left: EnEV 100%, right: EnEV 50%)

    Step 3 - The different materials

    The material also determines the achievable insulation effect. The most common variants include:

    • mineral wool
    • Rubber or synthetic rubber
    • Polyethylene (PE)

    Rubber is generally recommended because it is flexible and no cuts for the realization of curves and bends must be made. However, the cost of this material compared to the plastic are higher. Therefore, it can be advantageous to select the cheaper plastic variant, especially with many tubes to be insulated with straight progressions. If the fire protection is in the foreground and it comes to high temperature development, then scores the mineral wool / rock wool . It is also the most expensive. A detailed comparison and a detailed comparison of the different materials can be found below in the text (LINK).

    Step 4 - Cutting the insulating shells

    To install the insulation shells, you must cut them to the correct size. It is important that later the individual elements are flush mounted. Gaps must be avoided.

    Step 5 - Insert slots

    To attach the trays they must have slots. Often the hoses are already provided with such a slot and a self-adhesive seam. Otherwise you have to create the slot yourself.

    Pipe insulation with slot

    Step 6 - Turn off the heating system

    Switch off the heating system and let the pipes cool down. Since in summer the heating is generally not active or already switched off, you can skip step 6 in this case.

    Step 7 - Damp bends and curves

    Curves and bends are a problem when isolating at first glance. However, these challenges are quickly mastered with the right tips. Rubber hoses are flexible, so you simply put the insulation over the curves. On the other hand, if it is mineral wool or polyethylene, then indentations are necessary. Here are different cases:

    Narrow curves (radius less than 2 centimeters or 90 degrees angle):
    For this you have to bevel two insulation elements each at a 45 degree angle. Now join both parts together at the bevelled ends.

    Bends whose radius is between 2 to 5 centimeters:
    Create two notches each with 45 degree angles. There should be at least 1 centimeter between the cuts.

    Bends whose radius is more than 5 centimeters:
    In that case you should do three score cuts. The angle is 30 degrees each.

    Tip: When mounting, the notches must be at the inner radius of the pipe. However, often already pre-made pieces are offered in the specialized trade, so that you do not have to saw anymore and do not have to produce notches.

    Step 8 - insulate fittings and valves

    When insulating, it is crucial to ensure complete insulation. Therefore, you must also isolate all existing valves and fittings. The easiest way is to use specially shaped insulating shells. The parts are tailored to the shape of the individual elements.

    Tip: Pay attention to the special features of the valves and valves. Often, the manual contains references to permissible or unsuitable materials for insulation.

    Step 9 - Isolate

    Now you have to isolate the transitions and the interfaces. Use electrical tape and work very carefully. If you do not have a special tape for the pipe insulation at hand, you can also use classic fabric tape. If you did not provide sufficient closure at the open points, then the heating heat would escape at these points despite the isolation.

    Insulate heating pipes

    Tip: Make sure that the insulation is as close as possible to the heating pipes. Gaps can fill with heat, which is dissipated by the incoming and outgoing air.

    Comparison of materials and costs

    Various insulating materials are available for pipe insulation. When selecting, you should always pay attention to the information on insulation standard and thermal conductivity. This allows you to compare the different products. If heating pipes are insulated, then four different selection criteria make sense:

    • temperature resistance
    • Fire protection
    • price
    • insulating effect

    You will recognize the insulation effect very well on the labels according to the EnEV standard. The prices vary greatly with the individual materials, so that costs between 2 to 9 euros per meter arise. In addition there are expenses for knives, adhesive tape and the special insulating shells of the valves and pumps.

    Below is a description and comparison of the different materials:

    1. plastic: polyurethane (PUR) or polyethylene (PE)

    The material is with about 2 to 4 euros cost per meter as very favorable . At the same time, the insulation scores with its easy processing. Often you will find in the retailer hoses, which have a length of one meter. Slots are already prefabricated, so you can pull hoses over the pipe. Particularly useful are self-adhesive films, which ensure the secure closure. If these are not available, use adhesive tape to seal. The poor flammability is also to be considered positive.

    The disadvantage, however, affects the lack of high temperature resistance. Therefore, the hoses are not suitable for the insulation of solar cables . In this area, temperatures of 160 degrees Celsius are possible, which is too high for the plastic variants. Another small drawback is the lack of flexibility. Therefore, the piping should be easily accessible to facilitate installation. Notches must be made in the case of bends. Therefore, the access must be optimal in all places. Alternatively, you can also use prefabricated curve pieces.

    Tip: If there are many bends and bends in the pipe system in the basement, then rubber or synthetic rubber is the simpler version.

    Example calculation: If you want to dampen a distance of 10 meters, then there are about 20 to 40 euros in material costs.

    2. Rubber / synthetic rubber

    Pipe insulation made of rubber / synthetic rubber costs about 3 to 5 euros per meter. They are very resilient and flexible. Negative is the higher price compared to plastic.

    A big advantage is the heavy flammability. This ensures fire protection. The durable material can also be laid over bends, making attachment very easy. In the retail trade, the insulation is often offered in slotted strands, so that this step is eliminated. Even branched heating pipe systems or hard to reach areas can thus be isolated. Rubber is resistant to high temperatures compared to plastic hoses. The hoses can be used for solar cables.

    Sample calculation: The material costs amount to around 30 to 50 euros with a pipe length of 10 meters.

    3. mineral wool / rock wool

    Mineral wool / rock wool is not flammable, which is a big plus. At the same time it is a stable material. However, you have to pay about 4 to 9 euros for the insulation. Another disadvantage is the nature of the mineral wool. Contact with the skin may cause allergic reactions and itching and redness.

    The special feature of the mineral wool is that it is suitable for temperatures of up to 250 degrees. It can therefore be used optimally for heat-conducting pipes. To create a stable hose, rock wool / mineral wool is pressed into a tube shape. This is followed by a jacket with aluminum. Since the hoses are not flexible, use in straight pipe systems is an advantage. If curves have to be laid then miter cuts can be made.

    Tip: When processing, wear long-sleeved clothing and gloves to prevent direct contact.

    Example calculation: The costs for 10 meters of hoses are around 40 to 90 euros .


    The insulation of the heating pipes has a slight difficulty. Due to the relatively low material costs, you can significantly reduce energy costs with minimal effort. Although the commissioning of a specialized company is possible, the own execution can save significant costs. Otherwise, the usual hourly wages would be added to the material costs, which are around 50 to 100 euros.

    Tips for quick readers:

    • Rubber can be bent
    • Plastic is the cheapest
    • Mineral wool has particularly good fire protection
    • Wear gloves for mineral wool
    • wear long-sleeved clothing
    • in curves: bend or miter cuts
    • Determine the diameter of the pipes
    • do not create any gaps
    • Pipe insulation must be close to the pipe
    • Hoses may have slots
    • Hoses can be self-adhesive
    • Insulate valves as well
    • Use special bowls
    • simple implementation, therefore suitable for beginners
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