Insulating Pipes Can Help Save In Energy Costs
Just like people, “naked” plumbing pipes get cold if not properly clothed. Pipe insulation works well for hot-water and cold-water plumbing. For hot-water pipes, insulation traps escaping heat and has an added benefit of helping lower energy costs. Cold-water pipe insulation prevents condensation from dripping off.
Insulating pipes is a straightforward process that can be accomplished by most homeowners. Materials are inexpensive and available at your local hardware store or home center. Follow our easy DIY guide to have it done in just a few hours!
DIY Pipe Insulating
Step 1: Clean & Measure Pipes
- Start by cleaning dust and debris off the pipes. Use a tape measure and starting at the water heater, record the lengths of all water pipes. Remember that you’ll want to cover the pipes completely, even at corners, so take this into consideration when measuring.
Step 2: Pick Insulation
- There are different types of pipe insulation, so pick the kind that works best for you. Foam rubber, foil and fiberglass are all popular insulation materials, and tubular sleeves are very common and the easiest to install.
Step 3: Cut & Secure Insulation
- Using your previous measurements, cut insulation to the desired lengths. Secure it to the pipes every foot or so with tape or cable ties, making sure not to cut through the insulation material. If using tubular insulation, duct tape sleeves together where the ends meet when using more than one to cover longer pipes.
Pipe Insulating Safety Tips
- If you have a gas water heater, keep insulation at least six inches away from the flue. Fiberglass pipe wrap is the safest material to use near a flue. Secure it with metal wire or aluminum tape.
- Wear protective gloves when handling pipes because they can be hot and messy.
- Always be careful around knives when cutting through insulation.
If done correctly, insulating water pipes can save around $10 or more a year on energy costs. While that may not seem like very much, insulation can last for years and every little bit saved helps. Couple insulation by lowering your water heater temperature a few degrees, and the savings starts to add up.