Removable insulation blankets, also known as removable insulation jackets or pads, consist of layers of thermal, noncombustible insulation materials. You’ll most often see them used on pumps, valves, pressure-reducing valves, induced draft and forced draft fans, heat exchangers, and tanks.
But how exactly do they work? Removable insulation blankets slow the transfer of thermal energy. They focus on materials with a high r-value (how well a material resists the flow of heat). Typically, the external material is made of either silicone or Teflon, which are both thick, durable materials. In addition to a longer service life, these insulation materials also improve safety conditions since lower surface temperatures reduce the risk of injury.
Companies turn to the benefits of removable insulation blankets for a variety of reasons including energy efficiency, cost reduction (money saved on heating and cooling expenses), safety, and straightforward maintenance. You may be surprised just how versatile and user-friendly removable insulation blankets really are. Consider the following advantages of removable insulation blankets when choosing an insulation method that’s right for you.
Reason #1: Maximize efficiency and reduce energy costs.
Perhaps the most convincing reason companies consider using removable insulation blankets is to maximize efficiency and reduce energy costs. A New York Power Authority (NYPA) grant-funded project found that using pipe insulation jackets could save thousands of dollars in energy costs for 25 buildings across the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz campus. The jackets directly reduced the number of BTUs (British Thermal Units – energy used to heat/cool) by about 500 million annually by wrapping around the hot piping and valves to keep the heat in. In five years, the SUNY New Paltz campus will save up to $250,000. As an added benefit, the reduction of BTUs also leads to fewer carbon emissions.
Companies not only achieve operational efficiency goals as a result, but removable insulation blankets also help companies reach compliance standards, including energy-efficiency regulations mandated on a state or federal level. They are particularly useful in buildings with high steam consumption. For example, New York issued Executive Order 88, which called for a 20% improvement in the energy efficiency of state government facilities by April 2020. The implementation of insulation blankets helps companies achieve these lofty goals.
Reason #2: Regulate temperatures.
Alternative insulation methods are only as good as their ability to regulate temperature. Without jackets, the same NYPA grant-funded project asserts that some external piping can reach upward of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, creating precarious conditions for workers and increasing the need for regular maintenance. Pipes that get too cold, on the other hand, can crack or warp due to a buildup of condensation, also known as pipe sweating.
Jackets stabilize conditions so that pipes don’t incur excessive damage due to extreme heat. Using removable insulation jackets, pipes typically maintain a desirable 120 degrees Fahrenheit surface temperature.
Reason #3: Improve workplace safety.
Extreme temperatures of piping, pumps, valves, tanks and so on not only put your equipment at risk, but they endanger your workers too. Pipes, valves and fittings with traditional insulation methods may get damaged during maintenance. This can lead to safety hazards for your workers who must now subject themselves to extreme temperatures to conduct additional maintenance checks.
Temperature regulation mitigates the risk for workers due to overheating. The touch temperature diminishes and subsequently, ambient air temperature drops as well. Removable insulation jackets expedite this process.
Reason #4: Offer freeze protection.
Pipes that are exposed to cold temperatures are at risk of freezing. This is both costly and time-consuming to repair. Fortunately, removable insulation blankets stave off such detrimental conditions. Insulation blankets prevent subfreezing temperatures from compromising indoor and outdoor components.
In addition to protecting backflow protectors, this type of insulation also preserves water meters and air release valves.
In response to the infamous February Freeze, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 into law in June 2021 to improve the state’s power grid systems and to require the weatherization of power generation facilities. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) will conduct inspections of facilities’ weatherization procedures. Those that do not pass the inspection could face hefty fines of up to $1 million. Removable blankets are one way to satisfy these new requirements, which will likely take effect in 2022.
Reason #5: Offer noise reduction.
Not only does excessive noise disrupt daily operations, but it can also create dangerous scenarios for workers. In fact, prolonged exposure to loud noises kills nerve endings in the inner ear, which can lead to permanent hearing loss that can’t be restored through surgery. This type of insulation used to reduce noise is both removable and reusable. Inside the jacket, high-density fiberglass and mass-loaded vinyl absorb sound and mitigate associated risks for employees working nearby.
Though you might seek out removable insulation blankets for one specific purpose, in reality, this alternative insulation method solves a variety of problems at once. MIT, a division of Distribution International, is the largest and most experienced manufacturer of removable insulation blankets and pads. We deliver excellent service with the insulation inventory to meet your needs every time. Learn more about MIT’s removable insulation blankets today.
Our Crossroads C&I business in Canada also manufactures removable insulation blankets in its Sarnia, ON branch. Learn more about Crossroads C&I's removable and reusable insulation solutions now.