Insulating water pipes is an easy and inexpensive way to improve your home and reduce your energy costs. It can often be accomplished in a single day by the average homeowner.
Insulating water pipes that are located in unconditioned spaces helps reduce energy costs because significantly less heat is lost from the hot water line when it is insulated. Water pipe insulation also helps reduce plumbing noise and can help prevent condensation forming on the cold water lines in the summer. Condensation that forms on the pipes and then drips down onto other building materials in the home could cause mold growth.
Water pipe insulation can also help prevent potentially catastrophic water damage. During the cold season, water pipes that are not insulated can freeze which can cause the pipes to burst. Because water lines are under pressure at all times, burst water pipes can very quickly cause significant property damage. Water damage accounts for about one third of all homeowner’s insurance claims. Insulating pipes greatly reduces the risk of property damage due to frozen pipes.
Water pipe insulation is inexpensive and is readily available at all home improvement stores. It can also be purchased online. The most common type of insulation is a foam that is slit down the middle and that has an adhesive strip at the slit. The insulation should be cut down to the needed length and then installed around the pipe. The adhesive strip glues the insulation together and the pipe is insulated.
You should wear safety glasses and other protective equipment as needed while working with insulation and in unfinished areas of the home like the crawlspace and the attic. If going into the attic, make sure you know how to safely traverse the attic space. Significant injury and property damage could result from stepping onto the ceiling drywall which is not intended to support the weight of a person. We also recommend wearing a respirator when in unfinished spaces to help prevent inhalation of airborne particulates that could be harmful.
You should check the condition of the pipes as you are insulating them. If your home has galvanized metal pipes that are showing signs of significant corrosion, we recommend having the pipes evaluated by a plumber. Some galvanized plumbing is in a condition that warrants replacement and it may not make sense to put in the effort of insulating pipes that need to be replaced.