Nature vs. Nurture

Insulation installed on exterior applications or systems can be subject to damage due to UV rays from the sun, humidity, moisture, repair maintenance and even animals. Premature failure of insulation due to damage from outdoor elements can result in process failures, safety concerns, energy loss, costly repairs and an increased cost due to replacing the insulation sooner than anticipated. This is cause for concern so the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE standard 90.1 mandated standards for insulation protection, pipe insulation protection and weatherproofing for ducts that are designed to protect and support the insulation from outdoor hazards and nature.

Elemental and Natural Hazards

Typically, insulation outside can be exposed to several threats and dangers identified below.

  • UV degradation and solar radiation
  • Moisture or humidity from rain, snow and sleet
  • Mechanical abuse from repairs, tools, footsteps, linetrimmers
  • Animal abuse (birds and other vermin)
  • Wind or wind-blown sand
  • Atmospheric contamination from surrounding industries, chemicals or air pollutants
  • Organic contaminants resulting in mold growth
  • Expansion and contraction due to temperature fluctuations

Insulating Outdoor Mechanical Systems Properly

The IECC and ASHRAE standards make it clear that installing insulation on exterior systems like line sets, HVAC systems or refrigeration piping without protection is not in compliance. ArmaFlex® Shield flexible foam insulation is a moisture-resistant and UV-resistant product with a durable protective jacket specially designed for line set, HVAC and refrigeration applications. This tough coating can take the abuse of challenging installations and stands up to the effects of weather and extreme elements like UV, heat and cold, making it a great choice for outdoor applications. ArmaFlex Shield meets the IECC code and ASHERAD standard 90.1 requirements so it is an excellent choice when selecting outdoor insulation. This low-maintenance alternative to unprotected insulation comes in coils for easy installation and also eliminates the need for adding a separate jacket while on the jobsite. Installers can also, at minimum, apply our ArmaFlex WB Finish to non-jacketed insulation on exterior applications. Armacell recommends applying two coats of WB Finish during install and recoat every 2-4 years.