Thermal insulation of boilers, circuits and hot water heaters
Insulating boilers, hot water heaters and water piping is a highly effective way to keep your water hot for a long time, especially when equipment is exposed to cold in the winter.
With insulation less heat is lost and the hot water temperature can be set lower, saving energy and money for your hotel. In addition, if pipes are insulated customers will get hot water more quickly when they turn on the tap, which will save water as well.
Insulating boilers and hot water heaters
• Insulating boilers and hot water heaters is an option which should be considered, notably if the equipment is made of a material that conducts heat easily (in this case the equipment is hot to the touch).
- This is not the case for recent hot water heaters, that are already fitted with a layer of insulating foam, and do not require extra insulation.
• Precut insulating jackets are often used to insulate hot water heaters. They come ready-made in several standard sizes. The insulation capacity depends on the type and thickness of the material.
• For boilers: insulation can be applied on various components, such as valves and condensation receiving tanks. This insulation is sometimes called "boiler cladding".
Insulating jacket for hot water heater.
• Insulating hot water pipes is also an effective and economical solution, for pipes located in unheated areas.
• There are two main types of insulation materials for water pipes: mineral wool and preformed foam insulation, a more modern product. The insulation capacity depends on the type and thickness of the material.
• In addition to reducing heat loss, water pipe insulation reduces the risk of pipes freezing in water.
How do I choose insulation products?
• Choose high quality products, preferably certified by a quality label (for example, the British standard for boiler "jackets".
Can I do it myself?
• It is relatively easy to install a jacket on a hot water heater, but it is best to call in a qualified heating and plumbing specialist. Be sure to leave the thermostat controls accessible, and do not cover the purge valve at the bottom of the heater, nor the combustion gases vent at the top (for gas heaters).
• Installing insulation on piping is easy if the pipes are readily accessible; if not, it will probably be necessary to hire a professional.
• If you insulate piping yourself, make sure that no sections are left exposed, and do not forget to insulate the cut-off valves, faucets and overflow valves. If you use a sleeve, make sure the interior diameter closely matches the pipe diameter, to obtain a close fit. Keep the insulation material far from combustion gases if you have a gas water heater.
• Insulating jacket for hot water heater ≈ €20.
Approximate payback time:
• Possibly < 1 year.
It should be noted that costs and payback times are highly dependent on the local setting and the initial situation of the hotel.
Insulating your hot water heat can reduce heat losses by 35 to 45%, and save you between 4 and 9% in hot water production costs.
Reduced CO2 emissions
• For a hotel of 1,000 m² that uses 43.5 kWh/m² of natural gas to heat water annually, and applying emission factors for France, a 9% savings in energy consumption represents:
0.88 t CO2 eq of avoided emissions each year
Emission factors for electricity in France: 84.3 g CO2 / kWh.
Emission factors for natural gas in France: 331 g CO2 / kWh (Source: ADEME).
• Ease of implementation: Moderate (**).
• Best time for implementation: when the heating or hot water system is renovated.
• Relevant initial situation: the hotel's hot water production system is not insulated, and the equipment is exposed to code temperatures in winter.