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Insulating Basement Walls with Steam Return Pipes in way

I want to finish my basement and begin by insulating the cinderblock walls. But my steam boiler has the return pipes running horizontally the length of the walls ranging about 3 to 4 feet up the wall and the pipes both touch the walls at one end and are an inch away from the wall at the other end. So what's the best way to cheaply (not blown/spray foam) insulate the walls behind/around these return pipes?


Add in the fact that I'd like to put up framing for drywall later in the process as well, which means the pipes would also be in the way of framing.

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Posted 2013-02-01T18:40:02+0000  by K2BIGRED K2BIGRED


Hi hello and thank you for joining our How to Community.


You’ve got me thinking here :)


I would insulate the return pipes with fiberglass steam pipe insulation and the walls with 2”inch Foamular extruded polystyrene (pink foam).


This would allow you to but up XPS (extruded polystyrene) up against the pipes, insulate, and maintain the clearance between the pipes and XPS.


Even though these return pipes are only carrying condensate water, they can still get very hot with the unbalanced system. You’d want to make sure there’s some clearance in between foam (any kind) and these pipes.


Safety, insulate the supply pipes that are in the reach of hands. Steam pipes can cause painful burns.


Lastly make sure there’s enough clearance and combustion air around the boiler. Clearance chart should be displayed on the unit itself. If you’re intending on building a room around it, calculate the volume of the room/air needed, based on unit BTU’s. All of the charts should be available on the manufactures website.


Hope this helps and please do not hesitate to post back with any further questions you may have.



Posted 2013-02-04T18:15:35+0000  by George_HD_CHI
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