How Industrial Insulation Maintenance Saves Money
Plant managers and facility engineers have a lot of responsibility — and a long to-do list. There’s never enough time (or money) to do everything that needs to be done, and anything that’s not urgent gets put off until later. Supervisors have to balance maintenance and repairs against budget constraints, production schedules, equipment upgrades, and all sorts of other factors.
If you’ve spent much time at all working in an industrial setting, you know exactly what we’re talking about. One of the first things to slip to the bottom of the list is maintenance on “out of sight, out of mind” plant features like industrial insulation. After installation, insulation often gets ignored until a big enough problem makes the need for repairs apparent.
We’re here to tell you why that’s a mistake — and how regular industrial insulation maintenance can result in major cost savings for your facility.
Benefits of Industrial Insulation
Let’s get started with a quick recap of why industrial insulation is so important in the first place.
- Reduces energy cost by preventing heat loss from valves, ducts, pipes, tanks, and other industrial process equipment
- Controls condensation, protects against corrosion & prevents mold growth on piping, ducts, valves, fittings, chillers, and drains operating below ambient temperature
- Helps maintain quality control & consistency by ensuring process conditions stay within the specified operating range even when ambient conditions vary
- Boosts process efficiency & extends equipment longevity by helping to maintain stable operating conditions
- Shields outdoor equipment & pipes from harsh temperatures and weather conditions
- Protects workers from dangerously hot and cold equipment, excessive noise, fire hazards, and other safety risks
- Shrinks carbon footprint, conserves energy, and mitigates the impact industrial processes have on the environment.
Consequences of Damaged or Missing Industrial Insulation
As you can see, industrial insulation provides a long list of valuable benefits. Here’s the thing, though: you only get those benefits if your insulation is in good shape. Industrial insulation lasts a long time, but nothing lasts forever — especially in harsh environments like manufacturing plants and oil refineries.
Like anything else, insulation becomes less effective over time due to normal wear and tear as well as damage from weather, collisions, and other incidents. Without regular maintenance, you can end up with a plant full of insulation that’s missing, cracked, water damaged, or too thin to provide proper insulation and protection.
Take a look at some of the consequences that result from missing or damaged industrial insulation:
- Increased energy consumption — and cost
- Lower process efficiency and production capacity
- Quality control issues caused by fluctuating temperatures and unstable operating conditions
- Leaks and corrosion caused by condensation on pipes and equipment
- Higher downtime for equipment repair and maintenance
- Safety incidents such as burns from inadequately insulated pipes, ducts, tanks, and other equipment
- Process upsets due to problems caused by temperatures that are too high, too low, or too unstable
Connecting Industrial Insulation Maintenance to Cost Savings
Now that we’ve discussed the consequences of missing and damaged industrial insulation, it’s time to connect consequences to cost — and discuss how industrial insulation maintenance saves you money.
Several industry groups have attempted to quantify the monetary benefits of industrial insulation maintenance. The United States Department of Energy estimates that increased maintenance, repairs, and upgrades of existing industrial insulation would deliver $3.7 billion in energy savings every year. NAIA puts the figure at $4.8 billion, and another well-known study stated that “if all damaged or missing insulation at U.S. oil refineries was repaired, replaced, or reinsulated, the equivalent of 585,000 barrels of oil per year could be saved.”
These staggering numbers indicate the cost-saving potential of increased industrial insulation maintenance on an industry-wide scale. But what about for a single company or plant? What about the facility where you work?
Based on our experience, industrial insulation maintenance can save you tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars per year, depending on the size of your facility and the type of processes involved.
Think about these three scenarios before we wrap up:
- High-performance industrial insulation can reduce heat loss (and associated energy consumption) by about 20 times. Old, damaged, or partially missing insulation is far less effective — repairing it could cut your energy consumption and reduce your energy costs by 10%, 25%, 50%, or even more, depending on the scope of the damage.
- Without proper insulation to maintain optimal temperatures, major process upsets can occur. For example, let’s say damaged insulation is causing too much heat loss. In that case, chemicals can solidify, pipes can freeze, and dangerous by-products can precipitate in your equipment, resulting in expensive shutdowns and clean-out operations. That’s the sort of costly disruption industrial insulation maintenance helps you avoid.
- Insulation prevents condensation from wreaking havoc on cold process equipment. When cracked or worn insulation can’t keep surface temperatures above the dew point of the surrounding air, you get corrosion, moisture damage, higher energy consumption for chillers, mold growth, and eventually leaks. Repair costs add up — quickly dwarfing the cost of preventive maintenance.
Contact MultiService: Your Industrial Insulation Design, Installation & Repair Experts
If you haven’t figured it out already, the team at MultiService Industrial believes strongly in industrial insulation maintenance. We’re experts in industrial design, installation, and repair, with experience in multiple industries and process types.
We’ve seen the difference regular inspection and maintenance can make, and we want to help you keep your insulation at maximum efficiency. Get in touch with us to find out more about how insulation repair and upgrades can save you money.