Water Damaged Insulation from Flooding

There were many reports of record rainfall in the United States in 2018. Several states had “One-in-1,000-Year” amounts. Hurricane Florence dropped more than 30 inches of rain as it made its way through the Carolinas in mid-September at least 20 inches of that rain fell over an area the size of New Jersey.

In northern Wisconsin/Northern Michigan up to 15 inches of rain inundated parts of the state causing roads to wash away and several rivers reached record crests. There are many more states that suffered like Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, Texas, which all reported record rainfall totals during summer 2018.

Flooded Steam TunnelWhat does that mean for the insulation industry, though? Flooding in steam and utility tunnels (right), which house pipes distributing heat to other buildings. These tunnels are now full of water damaged or missing insulation. Flooding can cause the insulation to soften and fall apart or fall off entirely, at best degrading the insulation’s performance and at worst leaving piping and components completely exposed.  The violent reaction when cold water hits the surface of hot steam pipes can sometimes be very unforgiving!  One of our customers had several steam tunnels flood back in 2018 and surface temperatures that were all below 120°F are now 200°F+ in many parts. Once the water is pumped out, these spaces are without functioning traditional pipe insulation and all steam components have been stripped of their insulation.

When insulation is damaged by water, the fiberglass soaks it up like a sponge causing additional problems that need to be remedied, QUICKLY! Fiberglass does not support mold growth, but it does get dirty, and that dirt grows mold.  Additionally fiberglass is often paper faced and this paper also grows mold.

If the threat of mold wasn’t scary enough, the longer your piping and steam components remain bare, the more consequence add up. Here are just a few of the unwanted results of bare pipes and components:

  • energy loss
  • adjacent space heating
  • alarms being triggered by dangerous ambient temp in the steam/utility tunnels.

Thermaxx is happy to work with you and get this problem solved ASAP! We will conduct a comprehensive insulation survey detailing thermal savings and ROI. If you have areas onsite where water intrusion occurs regularly, we can even design your insulation solution with hydrophobic insulation and grommets. We will work with your gas company to determine your eligibility for incentives and navigate the incentive process FOR YOU, including any documentation needed for insurance claims that need to be provided. Contact us today and our team will come to your facility to assess your needs.

Thermaxx Jackets

Thermaxx Jackets was founded over 25 years ago with a single purpose: to help our clients save energy with removable insulation blankets when traditional stay-in-place insulation is not practical. Our dedication to this purpose has resulted in a long list of customers who have saved money thanks to Thermaxx Jackets! Combining expertise in heat loss, wireless monitoring, insulation design, and several other disciplines, we’ve become the #1 provider and fabricator of removable insulation jackets and covers. The Thermaxx Sales and Service teams are experienced and trained to provide clients with the most timely and cost-effective solution.