Division 22 23 Ebook Page 180 Memphis City Schools Fight Mold with VaporWick Insulation Case Study

Case Study With plenty of warm humid weather from late spring to early fall, Memphis City Schools are challenged to keep chilled piping systems tightly insulated and dry. All too often their best efforts come up short and the schools have to deal with dripping water, stained ceiling tile and growing mold. One response from school administration was to assign a special maintenance crew to fix what was said to be the cause of at least some of the mold - condensation from poorly insulated chilled pipe. In some cases the pipe may not have been insulated properly to begin with; in others the insulation was old or had been damaged. To select the best insulation for the job, the maintenance crew assigned to the task held separate training sessions for two candidate insulation products for chilled pipe - a relatively new type of fiberglass insulation and expanded polystyrene foam. They had representatives from each manufacturer teach the crew how to install their insulation. After the two sessions, the crew voted for the one they wanted to use. Their pick: VaporWick pipe insulation from Owens Corning. VaporWick insulation is specifically made for piping systems that operate below ambient temperatures. The product incorporates a patented concept that uses a wicking material to remove condensed water from the system, keeping the insulation dry. Water vapor that enters the system and condenses on the cold pipe surface is removed to the outer surface by capillary action, where it then evaporates to the ambient air. "The crew picked VaporWick insulation because it is more 'user friendly,'" says Rickey Thompson, supervisor of special projects on the maintenance team. "The product seems to be doing a good job," continues Thompson. "We have taken out a lot of wet insulation and replaced it with VaporWick insulation. The new material seems to be doing very well." The team replacing wet insulation is headed by Crew Leader Maurice Tutton. Working with him are Willie Walker, Kenneth Watkins and Leon Rogers. "We are still learning but we have been working with VaporWick insulation for six or seven months now and it is very easy to install," says Tutton. There were several factors that prompted the team to select VaporWick insulation, explains Tutton. One is the ability to put the product on wet pipe, which enables the crew to install insulation on a system that is operating. "We just wipe off the pipe real well and install the VaporWick insulation," says Tutton. "We couldn't do that with other types of insulation because it would trap the water inside. We would need to shut down the system and let the pipe dry before installing other types of insulation." Tutton says he and the crew also like the fact that VaporWick insulation does not require the use of messy mastic between each piece of insulation, a factor Tutton says is most significant when installing insulation in tight spaces. I highly recommend it. " Crew Leader Maurice Tutton

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