What Pipe Marking Labels Should Look Like

Pipe Labels

Does your facility need pipe labels? If it has pipes, then labels should be put in place to communicate to workers, visitors and emergency responders what those pipes contain. Pipes that carry water serve very different purposes than pipes that carry potentially toxic substances, and everyone needs to be aware of possible hazards.

While it is possible—and often most cost-effective—to make your own pipe labels using an industrial label printer, you can’t just make the labels look however you like.

You should follow the industry consensus standard for pipe marking, which is ANSI/ASME A13.1 and provides guidelines for colors and sizes of pipe labels. By following this standard, you’ll make labels that will be easily understood by anyone familiar with pipe markings. If you created your own system of labeling, people unfamiliar with your workplace might not be able to understand the labels easily.

So what should your labels look like? Take a look at the image below.

Fire Protection Water, Pipe Labels

A red and white label is used on a large orange pipe. The color scheme and size of this label follow the ANSI/ASME standard, so it would be easy for people to learn what the pipe contains. Let’s take a closer look at the pipe marking label requirements.

Pipe Marking Label Color Schemes

The ANSI/ASME standard assigns six main color schemes to common pipe contents:

  • Yellow Background with Black Text – Flammable Fluids & Gasses
  • Red Background with White Text – Fire-Quenching Fluids (as seen in the photo above)
  • Orange Background with Black Text – Toxic or Corrosive Fluids & Gasses
  • Green Background with White Text – All Water
  • Blue Background with White Text – All Air
  • Brown Background with White Text – Combustible Fluids & Gasses

The standard also includes four optional color schemes that can be used as your facility sees fit (some suggestions are offered, but you do not need to use these colors in the suggested ways):

  • Purple Background with White Text – Often used for acids and alkalis
  • Black Background with White Text – Often used for non-flammable gasses
  • White Background with Black Text – Often used for air ventilation
  • Gray Background with Black Text – Often used for waste media

No matter how you use optional colors for pipe marking labels, it’s important you do so consistently. A standardized system will make it so people can quickly recognize colors and understand what type of material the pipe will contain.

Pipe Marking Label Sizes

People in your facility need to be able to easily read pipe marking labels, so using appropriate sizes is critical. For smaller pipes, it’s acceptable to use smaller labels, but for larger pipes you will need much larger labels. In the photo above of the orange pipes, the label is quite large so it can be seen from a distance. If the label were smaller, it might go unnoticed.

Use the pipe’s outer diameter to determine the minimum length the label needs to be, as well as the minimum height of the text. A small pipe with a 1-inch diameter, for example, would need to be at least eight inches long and have text that is a half-inch high. A large pipe with a 10-inch diameter, however, would require a label at least 32 inches long and text three-and-a-half inches high. Consult the chart below for more information about label measurements.

Pipe Marking

Once you understand the guidelines for pipe labeling, you can go ahead and start printing your own labels. A label printer and durable label supplies will allow you to create labels that last a long time. Read Pipe Labels – In House vs. Pre-Made for more information.

Before you start printing lots of labels and placing them on your facility’s pipes, though, make sure you understand what locations require pipe labels. Find more information about pipe label placement in Where to Place Pipe Marking Labels.