This article was written by Meghan Reilly, an insulation expert at Thermaxx Jackets
Mechanical Insulation is an established technology that involves the insulation and jacketing of mechanical systems. It provides tremendous benefits to the end user including:
- Reducing energy costs
- Enhancing the performance of the system it is insulating
- Reducing emissions
- Providing safety in the workplace
- Improving appearance of boiler rooms and other mechanical spaces
- Increasing the life expectancy of equipment
While insulation is not a new technology, it is being sought out more and more as a popular energy conservation measure. Whether it’s tied into a larger scope of work with additional measures, or being done independently, mechanical insulation projects render appealing paybacks that clients are excited to implement.
Maintenance of a large-scale insulation project is almost as essential as the ability to classify, repair and/or replace defective or non-existent insulation in the first place.
When ThermaXX calculates a payback for a client, that number is based on an assumption that the pipe insulation will stay in place. Also, we assume that jackets will be removed for maintenance and re-installed once that piece of equipment is done being serviced.
It’s a simple idea that doesn’t translate so easily to real life…Have you ever walked into a mechanical space and seen little to no pipe insulation, or removable jackets laying on the floor, or (gasp!) cut down???
Of course…. we all have! Lets face it; most facilities personnel, HVAC techs, plumbers etc. have more important fires to put out. Often times, they are running from building to building, filling works orders, fixing steam leaks or changing out valves…there just aren’t enough hours in the day! That being said, it is critical for building owners to protect their investment and ensure that the project pays back.
The Thermaxx O&M Program
In the past year, ThermaXX has been given contracts from existing clients to provide them with a maintenance program, to manage pipe insulation and removable jackets installed at the site. This is a step that quickly pays for itself, as the inspections will deliver processes to help understand potential savings available through proper insulation maintenance.
For years, ThermaXX has taken a decidedly high-tech approach when installing our insulation jackets. All of our jackets come equipped with slates, which are laser etched aluminum plates. The slates contain the facility name, item number (as it corresponds to the particular project) as well as a unique QR code. The QR code can be scanned with any QR code reader or the ThermaXX smartphone APP. Every department in the company from sales to estimating, design and project management uses the ThermaXX smartphone APP. It is how we collect the data for every piece of insulation we manufacture. It’s all stored in one place so that at any given time anyone at ThermaXX can view a particular jacket.
Upon scanning the QR code with the ThermaXX APP the user will be directed to the data history for that jacket. The user also has the ability to add notes, take photos with time stamps and edit any information if needed.
The ThermaXX smartphone APP has become an integral part of our O&M program. The technician managing the inspection will scan each jacket with the APP. He will document that he has inspected every jacket by taking a photo with a time stamp. If any jackets have been removed or are not installed properly, the technician will re-install. Finally, he will note any missing insulation that needs to be done. The ThermaXX account manager will present the facility with a detailed report from the inspection as well as a proposal and savings calculations for any new work.
Onsite mechanical room inspection
Scan jacket QR code
Confirm jacket integrity
Re-install jacket (if not secured to component)
Take photo of jacket with timestamp
Document additional un-insulated components
Prepare heat loss with BTU loss
Submit to project manager
It is an effectual program which aides a client in safeguarding their investment. It also gives the client a forecasting tool and allows them to maintain mechanical insulation for years to come.