Insulating Over Rubber Expansion Joints: A Good or Bad Idea?

The practice of insulating over metallic expansion joints to minimize heat loss in a  piping system may be common, but it is not a good idea to follow this same practice with rubber expansion joints.

Rubber expansion joints typically consist of synthetic (oil-based) elastomers (ethylene propylene diene monomer [EPDM], neoprene, chlorobutyl, nitrile or clorosulphonated polyethylene-CSM) combined with polyester or nylon and wire reinforcing that provide pressure-restaining capability.

If an end user were to install a typical rubber expansion joint in a system needing insulation to cover the joint in a “hot” application, that individual must consider the probability of failure resulting from heat exposure.

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