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Successful wintering: insulation of drainage system in the house

Drainage system in residential house or in summer cottage is no longer a luxury. Pipes, which dispose effluents, are installed under the ground usually, but their safety is even more important than the protection of the roof and walls of your houses, because the wall and roof are repaired easy if necessary. Repair of underground pipeline requires more time and cost, and any problem with the drainage system requires immediate correction.

Is it necessary to insulate of drainage pipes?

Thermal insulation of pipes for the winterInsulation of drainage pipes in a single-family home is a question that is relevant for each builder. The climate of our country plays a major role of this. Even some abnormally cold winter days will be enough to create problems in the non-insulated pipes. In the best case pipeline is clogged by ice jams, and in the worst case it will break from the differential temperature and pressure due to the expanded liquid upon freezing.This problem is especially actual for outdoor pipelines and for pipelines which are located in unheated places. So that you should provide the all risks: insulation of outdoor drainage pipe and care about pipeline under the ground should be priority when installation of drainage system.

Methods of insulation drainage systems.

There are three main methods of pipeline insulation:

1.    Installation the system at great depths;
2.    Using special insulation;
3.    Heating with an electric cable.

Choosing insulation of the pipe depends upon residence, location of drainage system and resources that you have.

Method one: installation at great depths

Deep instillation pipesThe simplest method of the insulation drainage system is installation the pipeline under ground below the depth of soil freezing. In this case, the heat of pipeline itself will be enough to save temperature cruising liquid above zero and it does not allow liquid to freeze. For maximum results before installation the pipeline on the bottom of trench you should pour layer of sand 10-15 cm. This sand pillow will serve as an additional thermal insulator and shock absorber. The effect can enhance of additional sand mound.

You can insulate drainage pipes by yourself without additional costs for special equipment if will use this method insulation. However, it has several limitations. If you live in areas where strong frosts are rampant in winter, the depth of installation the pipes can be several meters. And geodetic monitoring rules can prohibit such depth of trench, also digging of the trench is very laborious and time consuming. In addition, if the drainage system will require repair, the great depth will be a serious obstacle for quick access to the accident site.

Method two: special insulation for drainage pipes

Insulation materials for pipes

Insulation of the drainage pipe can be performed using various types of thermal insulations. This can be a mineral wool, fiberglass, expanded polystyrene, foam plastic and others. The main requirement for insulation material - it should have a low thermal conductivity to provide above-zero temperature inside the pipe during the winter. Also thermal insulation must be resistant to chemical and bacteriological effects (must not decompose), it should be durable and moisture resistant. It looks like a cover that fits over the pipe, or two hemispheres which are connected special seam excluding heat loss.

There are several types of thermal insulations:

  • The most traditional and relatively reliable thermal insulation is mineral wool. The advantage of this material is ability of mineral wool to swell sealing leaking pipe joints. Thickness of insulation 5 ​​cm will be enough for standard installation depth of 0,5 m under the ground. For insulation outdoor pipeline you need increase thickness of mineral wool at least 2 times. This material is used less and less, because it requires special waterproofing coating or ruberoid covering. All these works are characterized by laboriousness and high financial costs.
  • Expanded polystyrene for insulation drainage pipes is used everywhere. This material, which consists of fusing together individual pellets, is characterized by high rigidity and strength. This material are produced as two parts which are connected by special fixation that prevents the penetration of cold into the pipeline.  
  • Insulation of the outdoor drainage pipe can be done by foam plastic that has high moisture resistance and resistance to physical damage. Using the foam plastic underground meets all the requirements for the safety of the pipeline from freezing and damage.
  • One of the most common heat-insulating material is expanded polyethylene. The main features of this material are the ease of installation and low price. The expanded polyethylene does not rot, so that you can provide with heat insulation the pipeline which is installed under the ground. The service life of this material is more than 30 years.

Method three: electric heating

Heating pipes using electric cableInsulation of the drainage pipe by heating cables is the most effective, but at the same time, the most expensive method insulation. In this case, special heating cables are installed along the whole length of drainage pipe, this cables heat the adjacent pipe. The cable can be located inside and outside the pipe. It you mount the cables outside the pipes, you need mount a protective casing also. The main disadvantage of this insulation method is high price of cable and equipment to maintain the temperature. Also you should take into consideration the additional energy costs. Whatever it was, this method is best suited for the insulation of outdoor drainage pipes and underground drainage system.

Whatever the drainage system of your home, insulation of outdoor drainage pipes and underground pipeline require professional approach. You will agree, it's easier to spend time and energy on competent insulation of the pipeline when installation it, than in the winter you will need eliminate the consequences of accident.