Pipework insulation provisions put to the test

A huge Australian installer of refrigeration and air conditioning pipework is conducting checks to figure out regardless of whether specific insulation provisions in the Countrywide Design Code (NCC) could be revised to aid installation of refrigeration pipework without having affecting strength efficiency.

The provision in concern in NCC 2019 is J5.8(a), exclusively relating to insulation demanded on refrigeration pipework. The clause notes that for pipework that contains a heating or cooling fluid, exactly where the fluid is held at a heated or cooled temperature, a desk of R-values implement. This often means installing a thick layer of insulation – up to 38mm.

Pipework installation professional Ventrix has organised the test. In accordance to operator Andrew Markopoulos, the existing insulation demands current a raft of difficulties.

“Up to three employees are essential to insulate tube at the 32/38mm wall thickness conclusion of the scale,” he claims. “It also takes about a few situations as lengthy to install.”

Other challenges consist of injury to more compact diameter tube, the need to have for nearer pipe help intervals to have more bodyweight and avert providers from sagging, hearth ranking fears, and greater embodied vitality required to develop, retailer and transportation the thicker insulation.

“But the most annoying matter,” Markopoulos states, “is getting to justify the additional 18–35 per cent raise in deal price to shoppers.”

A question of efficiency

The underlying dilemma that Ventrix is in search of to respond to with its screening is whether the additional thickness of insulation essentially will make a variance to program overall performance.

“Over the previous 10 decades or so, we have been requested to enhance the thickness of insulation on refrigeration-based pipework,” claims Markopoulos. “It’s related to strength effectiveness, but we started questioning a pair of factors.

“While I absolutely agree that a chiller, boiler, AHU or FCU that has labored hard to generate an predicted fluid temperature would value its function is carried to its destination with out loss of its held temperature, refrigerant gasoline is not the very same as heated or chilled air or drinking water. As a medium it must be taken care of in another way.”

Licensed tests

The checks have been conducted at a NATA-qualified facility and created with input from gurus and business stakeholders. They consist of a 7.1kW higher-wall split program with a 50m pipe operate in a well balanced ambient calorimeter chamber working with 38mm, 32mm, 25mm, 19mm, 13mm and no insulation in the two heating and cooling to AS/NZS3823.1.1. The exams will evaluate the effect of these unique insulation thicknesses on energy effectiveness, capacity and power enter.

Ventrix has covered the sizeable costs of the exercise, certain that if the final results lead to a improve of principles, it would be a benefit not just for the enterprise, but for the total marketplace.

“I experience the variation in energy intake in between insulation thicknesses varying from 13–38mm in a refrigerant-primarily based technique would be fairly nominal,” claims Markopoulos.

“We are hoping the assessments outcomes confirm there is very minimum obtain, if any, in growing insulation thicknesses on refrigerant-based pipe. There are numerous individuals across the business that would gain from a optimistic outcome – and a revision of the provisions in the NCC to mirror this.”

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