What is Insulation Wrap?

Ken Black
Ken Black
Insulation wraps can protect water in pipes from freezing.
Insulation wraps can protect water in pipes from freezing.

Insulation wrap is a term that may be applied to insulation used on ducts or pipes in a home, which can help prevent heat or cold air loss. As the name would suggest, insulation wrap works by surrounding the duct or pipe with a layer of insulation. This has several different purposes and benefits, depending on what is being protected.

Most commonly, the term insulation wrap is applied to ducts. Whenever there is heating or air conditioning in effect, some of that treated air is lost through the "skin" of the ductwork. Preventing this will further add efficiency to the entire HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning) system.

In other cases, there could be holes or small cuts in the duct material that further amplifies the problem. While adding insulation wrap will help prevent these damages to a large extent, any existing damage should be repaired before applying the insulation. As its name would suggest, insulation should not be only line of defense in preventing air loss in the ducts.

Insulation wrap is often made of two different layers. The main insulating layer is usually made of a fibrous and somewhat porous material, such as fiberglass. The outside layer is often made of a reflective material that is less permeable. This helps reflect any air trying to make incursion from the outside and redirects air back toward the duct from the inside.

When choosing an insulation wrap, it is important to understand the differences and the sizes available. For example, some may work only for certain shaped ducts, whether they are round, square or rectangular. Others may be just as effective, no matter what the shape is. Choosing one that can fit around the entire duct will also make installation much easier.

Still, while some manufacturers may make insulation wrap for particular shapes, most products can be used no matter what the shape of the duct is. This is because of the techniques used during installation. The seams in the insulation are often stapled. Then, a pressure sensitive tape is usually placed over the seams.

Another type of insulation wrap commonly used is intended for pipes carrying water in the home. Though most pipes in the home will work just as well without any type of insulation, in colder climates, pipes near outside walls may need some type of insulation so that they do not freeze. An insulation wrap will help in those situations. A pipe freezing and bursting could cause substantial damage to the home, especially walls, carpets and floors. This simple, yet inexpensive option may be well worth the effort.

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    • Insulation wraps can protect water in pipes from freezing.
      Insulation wraps can protect water in pipes from freezing.