I am about to insulate my steam pipes, which are currently exposed. I have a ton of extra attic insulation left over from another project. Can I use this (and some duct tape for shaping) on my steam pipes? Or is there a compelling reason to purchase fiberglass that is specifically designed for pipes?

  • unless they are in unconditioned space (cold areas) or an area that's currently overheating due to too much heat coming off the pipes, or people are getting burnt by contacting them, there's no particular need or benefit to insulating them - they are helping to heat your house when heat is called for.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 16, 2022 at 14:41
  • Fair point, @Ecnerwal, however, they could be providing more heat on a lower floor (that already has radiators), and less heat (because they've already given some up) on upper floors, so it seems a valid concern.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 16, 2022 at 14:43
  • I'm speaking of the pipes running through the basement from the furnace before they get to the radiators. I don't see it as super valuable to heat my basement as it is not finished. Mar 16, 2022 at 14:44
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    Warm air rises so it is probably warming the floors a bit. Cold floors tend to suck the heat out of a person so they raise the thermostats to compensate.
    – crip659
    Mar 16, 2022 at 14:51
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    I insulate my A/C refrigerant pipes in the unconditioned basement so that they will not collect condensation and drip on the floor. I use cheap foam pipe insulation. Using attic batts would be horrific. The hot water (I don't have steam) pipes are not insulated. I guesstimate they siphon off about 2% of the boiler's output to heat the basement a few degrees, and I actually like that. Most of the "loss" goes to the floor above anyway.
    – jay613
    Mar 16, 2022 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


I suppose it depends on your tolerance for misery, as much as anything. Trying to wrap pipes in attic batts and tape them in place sounds like a perfectly miserable time to me.

Slow, awkward, getting covered in glass fibers (gear up throughly) and the end result being a general mess.

Other than that, yes it's insulation, and it should stand steam temperatures. Convenience, time savings and a neater result are the reasons to choose pre-formed pipe insulation. If you are good with abandoning those, forge ahead.

  • sounds like the time and misery might not be worth the money saved. Thanks for the advice. Mar 16, 2022 at 14:53
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    BTW - the best place to store "excess attic insulation" is laid out in some attic (more is better, even when it's past "recommended amounts" if you have already bought the material.) Or else sell it locally...
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 16, 2022 at 14:56

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