Pipes obviously have fluids traveling through them. As some of these fluids evaporate and condensate, the liquids end up on the outside of the pipe, which can encourage mold and create humid conditions that can cause damage to the home. The mold can release spores that can cause respiratory problems for the occupants and can also cause difficult-to-remove stains. Sweating can freeze during the winter months, causing the pipes to break. This sweating can also increase water bills by increasing the amount of water that homeowners must use since much of the water is wasted through the sweating. However, pipe manufacturers have created some kinds of pipes that can reduce this sweating.
Rubber acts as a good insulation for pipes, preventing water from leaking out. Rubber comes from rubber trees, and labs can also synthesize rubber. The rubber insulation is also fairly easy to install on the pipes since the rubber simply slips over the pipes.
Sometimes property owners need to replace the insulation on the pipes since the insulation gradually wears down over time. However, fiberglass insulation can last for a long time without needing replacement. Plumbers have an easy time transporting this material because the material is lightweight.
Some pipes have molded cork pipe coverings to prevent the moisture from leaking out. Corks are not easily permeable, which is why wine manufacturers use corks to seal wine bottles. The material is elastic, so plumbers have an easier time working with the corking material and getting the material to fit within the pipe. The cork comes from the trunks of trees, which have the cork stripped from them every 10 years, giving the trees time to regenerate.
Polyethylene Flexible Tubing
Polyethylene flexible tubing wraps around the pipes, preventing sweating. Polyethylene is the most common kind of plastic used. This tubing not only protects from sweating but also reduces the likelihood that the pipes will freeze. However, this tubing will not completely prevent freezing.
One of the best ways to prevent pipes from sweating is to wrap them with specific anti-sweat materials. These materials are made out of multiple layers with different chemicals in each layer. The inner layer has asphalt-saturated asbestos paper. Two layers have asphalt-saturated asbestos felt. The materials also have pure wool felt and deadening felt. While useful, some worry about the asbestos in the pipes, which can cause health problems when renovating. If the pipe breaks, the shattered asbestos travels through the air where the gas can cause respiratory problems and diseases like mesothelioma.
- Photo Credit pipe image by Artur Blaszak from Fotolia.com
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