Insulation is not primarily used for heat containment. It is also used to regulate cold pipe systems to keep them running correctly and in good condition. For more info see this.
When using insulation jackets on cold pipe systems, there are many problems to be dealt with. Controlling condensation is the first and perhaps most critical issue. Condensation will form once the pipe system is below the dew point of the atmospheric air when the cold pipe system contacts the air. The consistency of the pipes will be negatively affected by this condensation, causing mould, ice, and pipe content corrosion.
To prevent condensation from accumulating, insulation jackets need to be specially built with appropriate thickness and vapor retardation characteristics.
Condensation in the insulation jackets induces metal degradation which reduces the effectiveness of the insulating materials.
Cold Pipes Insulating vs. Heat Pipes Insulating
It is a common myth that, for hot systems, cold insulation materials may be the same as insulation. In fact, there are some variations between insulation needs for the cold system and insulation needs for the hot system.
Closed cell structure: To prevent wicking actions, a closed cell structure is required. For hot pipe systems, most open sheet steel used encourages water to penetrate and the heat can cause the moisture to evaporate until the metal can corrode. Since the moisture does not evaporate, this very moisture inflow is very harmful to cold systems.
Efficient Water Vapor Barriers: A crucial aspect in stopping metal corrosion is stopping condensation from accumulating directly on the metal surface being insulated.
To prevent water from condensing on the metal pipe surface, a strong, versatile water vapor barrier is required. For hot systems, this form of water vapor barrier is not required.
No capacity for thermal bridging: There are often oddly formed or twisted ties that are left uninsulated and their size and form make it impossible for them to find insulation. The extension joints, triple duty valves, and flange sets are examples. If left un-insulated, these types of joints are possible thermal bridge points. They can collect moisture in cold systems. To safeguard against this, bendable or flexible insulation is required.