8 Types of Pipe Supports and Their Features

August 17, 2023·5 min
Carrie PowersCarrie Powers

In a world where the bones of our infrastructures are crisscrossed with pipes, one of the most overlooked, yet vital, components of these networks are pipe supports. These silent heroes bear the weight, literally, of our various systems, to help ensure smooth, unbroken service. This article will explore the diverse range of pipe support types, and their applications.

Understanding Pipe Supports

A pipe support, sometimes referred to as a hanger, is a structural component designed to carry the weight of a pipe, its contents, insulation, and any other in-line equipment such as valves and fittings. They provide stability and manage the stresses incurred due to the movement or vibration of the pipes. Pipe supports are essential for maintaining the integrity and performance of the pipe systems.

There are various types of pipe supports designed to perform different functions. Some are designed to allow movement (such as expansion and contraction due to temperature changes), while others are meant to provide rigid, immovable support.
Choosing the right type of pipe support is critical as it directly influences the safety, functionality, and lifespan of the piping system.

Factors that influence this choice can include the material of the pipe, the substance being transported, the operating temperature, and environmental conditions.

1. Fixed Point Supports

Fixed point supports, also known as anchors, are a specific type of support used in a piping system that provides a rigid and immovable point of reference. They are designed to bear the weight of the pipe, along with its contents, and to absorb the various forces that the pipe system might experience, such as those due to thermal expansion, contraction, and other dynamic loads.

2. Guide Supports

Guide supports allow axial movement of the pipe (along the length of the pipe), while preventing lateral (sideways) and angular (rotational) movements. In other words, they permit the pipe to expand or contract linearly while keeping it aligned along its originally designed path.

Guide supports are typically installed at regular intervals along straight pipe runs, particularly between changes in direction, and help maintain the alignment and positioning of the pipe.

3. Line Stop Supports

Line stop supports or limit stop supports are used to prevent pipes from moving in either the axial or longitudinal direction. They keep the pipe in place and can be provided to facilitate favorable distribution or restriction of axial pipe movements.

4. Hanger Rod Supports

Hanger rod supports, commonly known as hangers, are a type of pipe support used predominantly in the suspension of pipes from the ceiling or elevated structures. These types of supports are a common sight in industrial settings where large networks of pipes traverse across areas, often overhead.

Hanger rods are typically composed of a metal rod that is secured to a structural ceiling member at one end and a clamp or other attachment point that connects to the pipe at the other end. The length of the hanger rod can be adjusted to accommodate the distance between the pipe and the supporting structure in order to provide flexibility in pipe positioning.

5. Spring Supports

Spring supports are used to reduce the impact of temperature changes and subsidence on pipes by absorbing their upward or downward movement. They can also be used with hanger rods to handle any horizontal movement.

6. U-Bolt Supports

U-bolts have two main purposes in a piping system: anchoring and guiding. Depending on the intended purpose, they provide support to pipes in different ways, but the ultimate goal is to enhance the support of the pipes.

7. Trunnion or Dummy Supports

Trunnions are essentially short sections of pipe welded to the elbow section or side of a pipe that allow it to rest on structural steel members. This design helps in distributing the load and pressure of the piping system to effectively reduce the amount of stress on the pipe. It also permits some rotational movement in the pipe system.

Trunnions are often used at changes of direction or bends in the pipe system, particularly where the piping system involves large horizontal runs. Trunnions effectively bear the weight of the pipe and the fluid it carries to minimize potential sagging or deformation due to gravity.

8. Saddle Supports

Saddle supports are a specific type of pipe support used primarily for large-diameter, horizontal pipes. Saddle supports are designed to distribute the weight of the pipe and its contents evenly across the structure to help reduce the stress on any one point.

The name “saddle” comes from their design, which looks like a saddle – it has a curved section that fits against the bottom of the pipe, and flat sections that rest on the supporting surface beneath. This design increases the contact area with the pipe, and distributes the weight more effectively to reduce the likelihood of local deformations due to concentrated loads.

In addition to their load-distributing role, saddle supports can also help to minimize movement or vibration in the pipe, to further enhance the stability of the piping system.

Why Choose Buckaroos® for Pipe Supports?

Buckaroos is a stalwart in the industry that produces a wide variety of pipe supports, each designed and constructed to the highest standards.

CoolDry™ Insulated Pipe Supports

The CoolDry™ Insulated Saddle by Buckaroos is a highly rated saddle system for commercial piping systems that can handle temperatures up to 250°F. It uses a strong phenolic foam pipe Insulation, with a 3.75 PCF rating for piping under 10″ iron pipe size and 5 PCF rating for larger pipes between 11″ and 30″ iron pipe size.

CoolDry™ Sliding Pipe Supports

The CoolDry™ Sliding Supports have an insulated sliding saddle feature that allows a certain amount of linear movement at the hanger location while still keeping the insulation intact. This support system for pipe insulation can handle temperatures from -290°F to +250°F, and removes the need for roller type supports.

CoolDry™ Heavy Duty Pipe Supports

If your piping system undergoes frequent expansion and contraction, the CoolDry™ Heavy Duty Pipe Supports is a great choice. It works well for refrigerated water and cold piping systems, and can be used with roller hangers, trapeze systems, and strut systems. You can also use it outdoors, as long as it’s protected from bad weather. It also meets MSS SP-58, Type 40 shield requirements.

Tru-Balance™ 3300E Insulated Pipe Supports

The Tru-Balance™ Model 3300E is a top-quality pre-insulated saddle system for commercial piping systems with temperatures up to 300º F. It comes with rigid polyisocyanurate insulation, which is 3 PCF for sizes up to 12″ IPS and 4 PCF for sizes 13″ and larger. The 3300E also features a vapor retardant facing that doesn’t promote mold or fungus growth.

Fiberglass Blocks

Precision-cut block-style supports are used to increase the rigidity of insulated piping systems at load-bearing clevis hanger support locations. This helps keep the insulation from being compressed and damaged, while also maintaining a consistent thickness.

Buckaroos® Supports

The Buckaroos® Support is made of a wooden dowel that has been precisely cut and is attached to a circular PVC disc. Buckaroos® supports are designed to provide extra stability for pipe insulation at clevis hanger support locations on insulated piping systems. This helps maintain a consistent insulation thickness by minimizing compression and preventing damage to the insulation.

Invest in Quality Pipe Supports – Get the Buckaroos® Difference Now

At Buckaroos®, we pride ourselves on providing quality pipe supports to help ensure the longevity and performance of your piping system. Our products are manufactured from top-grade materials and adhere to stringent safety standards to ensure that our pipe supports are highly durable and reliable.

With a wide range of designs tailored to suit different applications, you can rest assured we have the right pipe supports for your needs.

Contact us today to learn more about our products!

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Carrie Powers

Carrie channels her passion for innovative solutions in the construction industry for Buckaroos. With a deep understanding of Buckaroos' leading insulated pipe support systems and insulation protection shields, Carrie ensures that building owners, engineers, and installers are well-equipped with the best tools and products. Her dedication to digital transformation and customer engagement helps Buckaroos maintain its reputation as a trusted resource for professional insulators across North America and Canada.