The "R Value" of Pool Noodles

Jay H

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Strange thought last night... Do you think those pool noodles have any insulating qualities in them. I can typically find a ton of those things in people's trash and they are (or most of them) hollow. I have a bunch of copper pipes that could be insulated and it could be a free way of insulating them... Just a strange thought since the kind that I have bought are simply foam tubes. Of course, the pool noodles are thicker but if used in areas not pressed with space, they could be a free way of insulating pipes. Plus they come in cool flourescent colors, not dark grey!


Jay
 

MarkMel

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That's a good idea and I think that the pool noodles are made of the same if not very similar foam as some pipe insulation.
 

DougR

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and you won't bang your Noggin on the pipes,when stumbling around in the basement !
 

Chu Gai

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I think so long as they fit snugly around the pipe it would be just fine. Now we'll hear how all your bills are under $10.
 

LewB

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2 important things to keep in mind:

1) Match the ID (inside diameter) of the 'noodle' with the OD (outside diameter) of the pipe.
There ought to lots of comedic value to 'what's the ID of your noodle' ?

2) Since the noodles come in many colors, make sure that they don't clash with each other or the decor of the basement/garage/crawlspace where the pipes are.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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The only problem could be if they start to melt when in contact with a hot water pipe full of hot water. Why don't you cut off a chunk and throw it into some hot water to see the reaction?

Hey, also take another chunk and try to burn it with a match. IIRC the store-bought pipe insulation is fire-retardant.
 

Jay H

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I've found out from a home forum that the polyethylene stuff you buy at the hardware store is basically the same stuff as the pool noodles. The polyethylene stuff is rated to 160degs and not as high as some of the more expensive pipe wraps but it's fine for domestic hot water lines which shouldn't be that hot and cold water lines.

Sounds like a great reuse of them. Now to go scrounge the neighborhood!


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Jay
 

MarkHastings

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The only thing I'd worry about is if they use any type of sealer on the foam to make them water resistant. Hopefully that stuff isn't too flammable.

and if they've been used in someones pool, what would the ramifications be if they had chlorine soaked in the material?
 

Jay H

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I cut the noodles this morning (my day off) and put them on. they are a bit harder to install than the store bought kind because they're stiffer and thicker but they fit perfectly around my copper pipes and they are great!!! Now I just need to find some more lying around. They're not any cheaper than the store bought kind cause you can buy the preglued ones from Frost King in a pack of 4 I think 4' lengths for like $5 or so, but the kicker is that I can find a ton of these in the trash that people throw out so its free for me. I just need to probably wait for next summer when people start tossing them again.

Jay
 

MarkHastings

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Do you have any physical therapy places near by? The ones that have pools, use them a lot. You could inquire about getting the ones they throw out.
 

Jay H

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..or I can feign a shoulder injury and infiltrate the local PT place......


Maybe the next James Bond film should be infiltration of a PT place to smuggle pool noodles out...

Jay
 

Brandy S

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Yup, same stuff. I worked at a production facility that made pipe insulation five days a week and pool noodles the other two (the weekend) with lower output. I got a ton of free ones because you get some funky colors (alot of browns!) when we switched color beads (the stuff melted to make the tubes).
Not sure about R values or usability as that was about ten years ago!
 

MarkHastings

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Oh good, then you can answer my question about whether the pool noodles had any type of extra coating that the pipe insulation didn't....although I guess you did answer that by saying they were the same, but just wanted to be sure.
 

Jay H

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COOL, thanks Brandy. I had an inkling of the fact when I came across a mfgr website which also mfgred pool noodles as well as pipe insulation.

So, I guess this also means that to a degree, pipe insulation can be used as pool noodles!


In thought, since insulation is trapped cells of air (to give it an R value), it would naturally have "floating" qualities for air is lighter than water so naturally it follows that the insulating pipe insulation should float and the pool noodles should also insulate.

There are open cell foam out there but that is now what the pool noodle or pipe insulation are made of. Brandy can surely explain this better.

Jay
 

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