Why buildings might need roof pipe supports depend entirely on whether or not there are pipes on the roof. It really is not the most practical place to place pipes, since they are in direct view of the sun and only inches from asphalt shingles that reflect light and heat like a solar oven.
There are situations when builders put pipes on the roof, and in those cases it is critical to have roof supports. It is a bad idea to have pipes in direct contact with the roof, and pipe supports do keep them elevated off of the shingles. This improves the thermal efficiency of fluid moving within the pipes. If it is gas, then leaking gas will be less likely to catch a roof on fire.
The Many Uses of Roof Pipes
Roof supports also keep pipes separated. Pipes should not come in contact with each other in order to avoid corrosion and the transfer of thermal differences. If a cold pipe runs over a warm pipe, condensation will occur and possibly corrosion along with it. Separating pipes also prevents them from breaking if they are disturbed.
Pipe supports can be critical because they snugly hold long lines that are exposed to the environment. Without support along their whole length, these pipes could easily bend and break from modest pressure. Good support will keep the pipes in order even if the house is shaken by a natural disaster or man made accident.
It is more common to have pipes run along the roof if the area is densely urban and underground piping is not possible. It is more likely to have a gas pipe run above ground than a water pipe, because gas does not need to stay cool and it is easier to detect and correct leaks.
Another possible example of pipes on the roof would be a solar water heater. In this case, the availability of sunlight on top of a house is exploited to reduce energy consumption. the pipes carrying hot water could run a few inches to nearly the whole length of the roof. In any case, proper roof supports will keep them snug and secure.
Tying it All Together
Roofs supports are often no different from normal pipe supports, and the design of pipe supports is nearly the same for all applications. Roof supports might have a wider base to avoid ripping shingles or to act as a thermal buffer. Otherwise, pipe supports can be easily used indoors in any place you want to keep distance between the pipes and a surface.
I enjoy writing article for construction blogs. Understanding the process of the structure and design of a commercial building will always make for an interesting read.
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