Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Importance of Insulation

If you follow our blog, then you know that we’ve discussed managing utility costs a number of times.  I focus on this subject because utilities can run 6 – 18% of volume, and I tend to see a lot of mismanagement in this area.  One easy way to help reduce waste, improve efficiency, and lower your utility costs is to properly insulate.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, uninsulated steam distribution and condensate return lines are a constant source of wasted energy.  They further go on to say that insulation can typically reduce energy losses by 90% and help ensure proper steam pressure in plant equipment.  But let me tell you how I read those statistics – reduced utility expenditures equals a larger number on your bottom line.  So let’s get started.  Walk through your plant and take some notes.
  • Are all pipes up to 7’ high insulated?  Not only will this help with waste, it is also mandatory for safety purposes.  Get this taken care of first so that the risk of employee injury is eliminated.
  • Is everything that reaches or exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit insulated?  Check your boiler, supply and return steam lines, steam traps, and fittings.
  • Consider insulating cold pipes, ducts, chillers, and roof drains - this will help control condensation and reduce the chances of deterioration.
  • Before purchasing insulation, do your due diligence.  Take a look at using removable insulation covers or jackets on things like valves, steam traps, and boilers.  They are economical and provide easy access should the need for repairs arise.
Once everything is insulated, be sure to properly maintain both your equipment and its insulation.  Leaks and condensation can cause insulation to become wet, which will impact its effectiveness.  Be sure to replace wet insulation promptly.  If you have questions about insulating your dry cleaning and laundry equipment, simply contact us through our website

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