SonoTube, a solution for sound insulation in sewers

The sound insulation of sewers and the sound level requirements of buildings are generally well known to HVAC professionals. However, there is a lack of information about the right kind of sound insulation products.

The lack of sound insulation in sewers causes significant noise nuisance, for example in apartment buildings. The flow of wastewater or rainwater from the top layers is accelerating in long vertical manifolds, and noise is generated especially at points where the sewer changes direction. There are three types of noise: 

  • Flow sound
  • Fall sound
  • Impact sound.

The more momentum there is in the water and the more corners there are on the pipes, the more noise there is. In addition, if the pipes are placed against a wall in the bedroom, for example, a good night’s sleep will be lost.

Healthy living environment by insulation 

The Finnish Building Code (RakMK) defines what sound insulation and noise protection should be in a new building. Decibel levels should be kept low enough (33 decibels in new buildings and 35 decibels in old buildings) to avoid noise nuisance. The placement of the pipes has a significant effect on noise control. Pipes encased in stairwells cause less noise than pipes inside the apartment.

Sound insulation must be taken into account already at the design stage, i.e. the designer must be aware of the correct placement of sewer and rainwater pipes and building materials. The simplest and most economical way is to place all the pipes in one shaft and insulate the shaft. Designers and builders are generally well aware of the sound level requirements for buildings, but ways to control noise nuisance are still little sought after. There is still room for improvement in the knowledge of various sound insulation products.

Insulate the sound as close as possible to its source

Sound travels primarily in the air and secondarily as vibrations in walls and ceilings. The latter is called body sound, and in particular this sound noise is attenuated by insulation. Buildings must be designed and constructed in such a way that the conditions are satisfactory to the user in terms of noise. This means that a person should be able to work, rest and sleep without the health effects of sound.

The sound to be insulated should be insulated as close as possible to the source of the sound, i.e. it is advisable to insulate the pipes, not only the shaft. If only the shaft is insulated, noise nuisance is created when the shaft is left partly empty. The shaft becomes a loudspeaker that runs through the whole house, which is detrimental to the lives of the residents.

Weaknesses of insulating the shaft

In the empty state, the sound propagates by colliding with oncoming obstacles. The sound wave may intensify along the way or possibly erupt if a hole is hit. The propagation of sound waves can be prevented by isolating the enclosures. However, it is difficult to tightly insulate round tubes in a rectangular shaft if the entire shaft is not filled with i.e. sprayable insulation. Exterior insulation on top of the enclosure again takes up living space and may look clumsy.

One solution is to use pipes that are as heavy as possible. The larger the mass of the tube, the better it insulates the sound. For example, cast iron pipes are quiet, but today the wall thickness of cast iron pipes is now just over a third of what they used to be. In other words, the pipes are not as sound-insulating as before, they also require separate sound insulation.

SonoTube – many great features in one product

Whether it’s a new house or a renovation project, it’s a good idea to insulate the pipes with products made specifically for it. For this purpose we have an excellent product: Atis SonoTube pipe insulation. SonoTube is suitable for:

  • Sewer insulation
  • Air ducts
  • Piping
  • For heating pipes.

SonoTube is made of two different materials: dense heavy rubber and lighter wool. Thanks to this structure, SonoTube insulates sounds of different frequencies on a wide scale. Heavy rubber insulates and absorbs low sounds, while wool handles high sounds. In addition, the surface has an aluminum laminate that acts as a vapor barrier. The insulation is section, making it easy to install tightly around the pipes. SonoTube can be cut with a knife and is easy to attach to the insulation thanks to the tape seal in the longitudinal seams.

SonoTube has an insulation thickness of 25 mm and a range of diameters from 42 mm to 219 mm.

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