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Community and Q&A

Pipe insulation for plumbing lines

J C | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

Our builder is intending to use AP/Armaflex for the pipe insulation for plumbing lines. We live in Connecticut, and the pipes are made of copper. We’re looking for the most effective and nontoxic pipe insulation. Do you recommend AP/Armaflex, or is there a better product? Thank you!

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  1. Charlie Sullivan | | #1

    As far as effectiveness, the thickness matters more than the material. The flexible materials can be easier and faster to install than the stiffer ones. As far as toxicity, one consideration might be the toxic fire retardants in many foams. K-flex has an "eco" version that is advertised as being halogen-free, which means that it omits at least one of the types of toxic fire retardants. I haven't examined its composition closely, but it's colored green instead of black, so it must be eco friendly :).

  2. Gregg Zuman (NY) | | #2

    Anyone know of nonpetrol nontoxic options here? For some of us, the material matters as long as it’s pretty good at the job - definitely not looking for top performance, just a good balance.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    I don't think any type of pipe insulation is "toxic" other than asbestos pipe insulation, which has been unavailable for decades. All of the pipe insulations now on the market are safe.

    I'm not sure of your definition of "nonpetrol," but you can buy fiberglass or mineral wool pipe insulation if you don't like foam. Below are some links to get you started.

    Owens Corning fiberglass pipe insulation

    Johns Manville mineral wool pipe insulation

    Mineral wool pipe insulation from Grainger

  4. Gregg Zuman (NY) | | #4

    Thanks, Marti! Mineral wool seems to meet minimum thresholds. Fiberglass comprises glass threads, poly (polyester) resin, hardener (catalyst), and cloth, so it typically would not meet a nonpetrol threshold. If anyone is aware of petrol-free fiberglass makers, I’d appreciate a shout out. Cheers.

  5. user-6863358 | | #5

    Gregg, perhaps Earthwool Pipe Insulation from Knauf Insulation is worth reviewing. No phenyl formaldehyde resins. Uses Ecose technology, which is a plant based binder technology.

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