BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of the Invention
This invention relates generally to pipe insulation and more particularly, but not by way of limitation, to a system of removable waterproof insulation for pipes.
Description of the Related Art
Insulation, particularly outdoor insulation, is vulnerable to moisture, which may result in a deterioration of insulative value. Traditional insulation wicks moisture, exacerbating any moisture exposure. When the insulation is placed on pipes, moisture in the insulation may also lead to corrosion of the pipes. When wet, chemicals in the insulation react with virtually all metal pipes, causing corrosion under insulation (CUI). Furthermore, traditional insulation is not easily reused. Inspection and service typically renders the existing insulation useless, requiring expensive replacement.
Typically, insulation is placed around a pipe with a heat trace in raw form and is then clad in tin and secured with sheet metal screws. The seams are caulked in an attempt to prevent moisture from reaching the insulation, but this attempt is typically unsuccessful. Any hole in the caulking or the tin, such as along seams and around the screw holes, allows moisture to reach the insulation. The insulation wicks water in, where it reacts with chemicals in the fiberglass, allowing the chemicals to leach out and corrode the underlying pipe. Inspections and repairs require holes to be bored through the tin and into the insulation, providing further points of ingress for moisture.
Modular insulation is known in the art, where insulation is wrapped around pipes and held in place by any of a variety of fasteners. This allows the insulation to be easily removed for inspection and repair, and allows the insulation to be reused if it is still in good condition. These modular systems do not, however, address the moisture problem. The insulation in such modular systems is still vulnerable to moisture, and the non-insulative elements of such systems inadequately protect the insulation from moisture or the underlying pipes from corrosion.
Attempts have been made to seal insulation inside a waterproof casing, but such attempts have produced new challenges. Specifically, given the compressible nature of traditional insulation, air is typically trapped within the waterproof casing along with the insulation. As the insulation is wrapped around a pipe, the air forms a bubble that often makes proper wrapping difficult if not impossible and increases the possibility of rupture of the waterproof casing, allowing moisture to reach the insulation and defeating the purpose of the casing.
Based on the foregoing, it is desirable to provide durable, removable insulation that would stay dry in the worst of outdoor conditions, while still providing easy access to pipes