How To Insulate Water Heater Pipes?

How to Insulate Water Supply Pipes

  1. There are a variety of reasons why insulating water supply pipes in exposed sections of your home is a smart idea.
  2. It is possible for water supply pipes that are exposed to external walls or unheated regions in severe winter climes to freeze, break, and cause flooding in your house.
  3. Several northern families have taken winter vacations in the south only to return to a months-long cleanup and repair effort when a single water pipe bursts in the middle of nowhere.
  4. Water pipe insulation is a critical component of any endeavor to winterize the plumbing system in a house or apartment.
  • The use of insulation for water pipes can also help you save money on energy bills by preventing hot water pipes from losing their heat to the surrounding environment.
  • Adding insulation to the hot water pipes that go from your water heater, for example, can help to prevent heat loss and cut your energy expenses associated with heating the water.
  • The last point to mention is that insulating cold water pipes can prevent the pipes from sweating as a result of moisture condensation, which can help to lower indoor humidity levels during the summer.

Where to Insulate Water Pipes

  1. The type of water pipes you insulate will be determined by the reason for doing so.
  2. In order to avoid frozen pipes, it is necessary to protect the pipelines that pass through unheated areas of the home.
  3. The majority of these are found in unheated garages, floor cavities above unheated crawl spaces, and other unheated areas.
  4. Pipes that run through interior walls or in heated basements are often not required to be insulated.
  • If you want to keep your pipes from freezing, you should insulate both the hot and cold water lines.
  • Hot water pipes can also freeze if there is no water flowing through them at the time of freezing.
  • If you want to minimize your water heating bills, it’s a good idea to insulate hot water pipes wherever you have access to them, as long as they’re not too long.
  • You may be able to reduce the temperature of your water heater if you do this since it will assist prevent heat from radiating away from hot water pipes.
  • If the purpose of pipe insulation is to reduce pipe sweating and humidity, then the cold water pipes are the ones that are in the most need of protection from the elements.
  • Condensation can build on the surfaces of exposed cold pipes when they come into touch with warm, humid air.
  • These puddles and drips may cause damage to floors, or they may contribute to general high humidity levels, which is particularly problematic in basements.
  • It is possible to avoid condensation by insulating the cold water lines.
  • When it comes to insulating water pipes, there are numerous options available.
  • We’ll discuss about pipe insulation, which is insulation that may be applied directly to the pipes.
  • Additions such as wall insulation, insulating the areas where pipes penetrate walls, and placing faucet covers on outdoor spigots are all options you should explore as well.

Before You Begin

  1. When choosing water pipe insulation, take the R-value of the various alternatives into consideration.
  2. The resistance to heat flow of a material is quantified by its R-value, which is a measurement of that resistance.
  3. The larger the R-value of a substance, the stronger the insulating capability of that particular material is.
  4. It is possible that the R-value of pipe insulation will not be presented, in which case you will need to do more study.
  • When choosing pipe insulation, the greater the R-value you should aim for, the colder your environment is likely to be.
  • Before insulating the pipes, clean them thoroughly to remove any debris or oil.
  • No matter what sort of insulation you choose, it’s a good idea to give the pipes a quick once-over before applying it to ensure that the insulation adheres better.
  • Installing insulation over moist pipes should be avoided if you are using a cleaning solution or anything else that may cause rot.
  • Any type of moisture has the potential to cause the insulation to become loose.
  • Examine the pipe insulation on an annual basis to ensure that it is still in excellent condition and that all of the pipes are properly coated.
  • Over time, duct tape or self-sealing strips applied to the insulation may break loose, exposing sections of the pipe underneath the insulation.
  • Make sure that all of the pipes are properly covered before the temperatures drop during the winter.


  • Pipe insulation, duct tape, foam pipe coverings, and frost-proof faucets (if required) are also recommended.

How to Use Pipe-Wrap Insulation

  1. The use of conventional pipe wrap insulation is a standard method of protecting pipelines.
  2. Insulation for pipes can be found in a variety of forms and materials, including flexible foam with rubber backing tape, foam and foil pipe insulation, bubble film pipe wrap, foil-backed natural cotton, and rubber pipe insulation tape.
  3. Pipe-wrap insulation is simple to install and is particularly well suited for insulating tiny lengths of pipe or sections with several bends, among other applications.

Start the Insulation Strip

Beginning with the insulation strip’s end (if it is not already self-adhesive), duct tape the strip to the pipe to hold it in place.

Wrap the Pipe

Wrap the insulation around the pipe in spiral loops, with each loop overhanging the previous one by at least 1/2 inch on each side. Take care not to leave any sections of the pipe exposed once you have completely covered it.

Finish Wrapping

Tape the end of the insulating strip in place with electrical tape. Continue with another piece of pipe wrap insulation, if required, until the whole length of the pipe is coated with insulation.

How to Use Foam Pipe Sleeves

  1. When it comes to covering longer straight pipe lengths, foam pipe sleeves are an excellent option.
  2. Most foam sleeves are available in 6-foot lengths, allowing you to cover a large amount of ground in a short amount of time.
  3. The sleeves are available in two types of insulation: foam and rubber, both of which are available in self-sealing versions.
  4. Various pipe sizes are available in three distinct diameters: 1/2-inch, 3/4-inch, and 1-inch (see table).
  • The installation of foam sleeve pipe insulation is one of the most straightforward of all of the insulation alternatives.

Position the Sleeve

Position the sleeves lengthwise along the pipe, then pry apart the split in the sleeve to reveal the pipe underneath. The sleeve will shut up around the pipe as you slide it over the top of it.

Seal the Seam

  1. Use either the self-adhesive strip incorporated into the sleeve or duct tape placed along the length of the slit to seal the seam together.
  2. When you reach the end of the previous sleeve, proceed with the next sleeve, butting it against the end of the previous sleeve.
  3. If the pipe is about to round a corner, you can miter-cut the sleeves to make them fit around the corner more comfortably.
  4. Alternatively, pipe wrap can be used to cover the fittings at the corners, with the ends of the wrap being taped to the foam sleeves.

Finish the Installation

Using a utility knife, trim the foam tubing to the desired length at the conclusion of each run. When the installation is complete, tape the butt seams, which are the points where two sleeves come together.

Consider Frost-Free Faucets for Added Protection

  1. When used in conjunction with other insulating measures, such as pipe-wrap insulation or foam sleeves, faucet covers provide excellent protection against burst water pipes.
  2. Installing special frost-proof faucets is an excellent alternative for homes in colder areas, even if they do not truly provide insulation.
  3. A unique valve stem is used in the construction of these faucets to prevent water from becoming trapped inside the faucet, where it can freeze, expand, and rupture the pipe.
  4. Using a lengthy valve stem that fits against a valve seat that is positioned well inside the house, where temperatures are warmer, the design is effective.
  • After turning off the faucet, the faucet is built such that water flows out of the valve body rather of being held where it might freeze due to the cold air surrounding it.

Don’t Insulate Your Hot Water Pipes

  1. Electric hot water is very costly.
  2. Shower heads with minimal water use have been fitted.
  3. We have a clothes washer that is water efficient.
  4. However, after that, we’re virtually at the limit of our options for conserving water heating energy through other means.
  • Our hot water use is around 50 gallons per day, according to a hasty and uncareful estimate: 10 gallons each for three showers, 10 gallons every other day for the dishwasher, 10 gallons at the kitchen sink, a few gallons at the bathroom sink, and a few gallons for laundry.
  • The math is about to begin…
  • This much water requires 8.2 kWh/day to raise its temperature by 70 degrees (from 50 degrees at the entrance to 120 degrees in the tank).
  • We spend 14.5 cents per kWh, which amounts to $36 in electricity over the course of a month.
  • We were able to reduce this by more than half after installing our heat pump water heater, but that is a topic for another time.
  • It is usual for people who are attempting to conserve energy on their water heating to inquire whether or not insulating the hot water pipes is a wise decision.
  • Suppose that losing heat through the pipes is the same as losing heat outside the home.
  • So maintaining the heat in the pipes will result in less water heating fuel being consumed, correct.
  • Why is my answer ″No,″ and what motivates me to say so?
  • The hot water is kept warm in a tank.
  • The tank is insulated, and unless you have a really old water heater, it is likely to be rather well insulated as well.
  • Electric water heaters, in particular, have the potential to provide excellent tank insulation.
  • If your tank is huge, has a plastic shell, and is domed on top, you’ve got excellent insulation on your hands.

Gas water heaters, on the other hand, are not always well insulated.Insulate any water heater tank that did not come with fiberglass insulation, I believe, as a matter of good practice.Make sure to detail the tank wrap and insulate the top of the tank as well as possible.Gas water heaters require special caution while adding tank insulation since there is a fire within the tank.You must be careful not to obstruct the combustion air intake or approach too close to the flue pipe, which is extremely hot and can cause your tank wrap to catch fire.One of Nik’s friends came dangerously close to death due to carbon monoxide poisoning when the water heater tank insulation caught fire beneath the wrap and smoldered just long enough to produce carbon monoxide but not long enough to activate the smoke alarm.

  • You may either properly and thoroughly insulate a gas tank, or you can do nothing at all.
  • Hot water, on the other hand, does not remain in the pipes for long.
  • Hot water is pumped through the pipes, and the hot water that remains cools down over time since no fuel is used to keep the water hot.
  • It would be good if the water in the pipes could be kept hot all of the time.
  • This would ensure that there was always hot water available at the faucet.

But don’t confuse having fast hot water with being environmentally conscious.In reality, the systems that ensure that hot water is available at the faucet are energy guzzlers.Water is continuously circulated out of the tank through a pipe loop that travels around the house to the sinks and showers, which is particularly useful in hotels where you can take a shower hundreds of feet from the water heater and in large houses where people feel entitled to hot water at a moment’s notice, among other places.The pumping energy is used, and repeatedly refreshing the hot water in the pipes results in continuous heat loss from the pipes, causing the water heater to need an excessive amount of fuel in order to keep both itself and the water in the pipes at a comfortable temperature.Yes, it is a really smart idea to insulate the pipes in this particular situation.

In any case, insulation is only useful for so long as the hot water in the pipes is constantly being refreshed, and, furthermore, very few people want immediate hot water to the point where they would install this type of blunderbuss system in their home.This takes us to the topic of pipe insulation and what it can and cannot do.Insulation does not generate any heat of its own.Furthermore, insulation does not keep things warm (or cold).

  1. Insulation DELAYS the flow of heat.
  2. If there is no more energy input, the item on one side of the insulation (water) will eventually reach the same temperature as the thing on the other side (the air in your basement), assuming that no further energy is used.
  3. And therein is the rub: only the water in the tank is heated, not the water in the pipes.

Insulating something only makes sense if you want to intentionally maintain a temperature difference between it and the surrounding environment.So insulate the tank and continue reading for tips on how to reduce heat loss through the pipes (none of which involves insulating the pipes.) The faucet on the bathroom sink has been changed to the cold side.″ ‘Keep the tap switched on the cold side at all times,’ says the caption for the″ data-large-file=″ data-small-file=″ alt=″squeeze the cold side″ the src attribute has the width=″275″ and the height=″206″″ 275w,550w,150w,300w″ sizes=″(max-width: 275px) 100vw, 275px″>Always keep the tap turned to the cold side of the water supply.

  1. When there is a short water draw, hot water is not pulled from the water heater as quickly as it should be.″ alt=″When there is a short water draw, hot water is not pulled out of the water heater.″ data-medium-file=″ data-large-file=″ alt=″When there is a short water draw, hot water is not drawn out of the water heater.″ the src attribute has the width=″300″ and the height=″224″″ When there is a short water draw, hot water is not pulled out of the water heater.
  2. srcset=″ 300w, 600w, 150w″ sizes=″(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px″>When there is a short water draw, hot water is not drawn out of the water heater.
  3. The majority of water pulls are too short to ensure that hot water reaches the sink in time.
  4. Don’t just dump hot water down the drain without a good cause.″ alt=″ data-medium-file=″ data-large-file=″ data-small-file=″ ″The majority of water draws are too short to ensure that hot water reaches the sink in time.
  5. Don’t just dump hot water down the drain without a good cause.″ the src attribute has the width=″300″ and the height=″224″″ Srcset=″ 300w, 600w, 150w″ sizes=″(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px″>Most water draws are too short to allow hot water to reach the sink in a timely manner.
  6. Don’t just dump hot water down the drain without a good cause.
  • It’s a shame when heat is lost via the pipes.
  • It’s just wasteful, and as an environmentalist, it upsets me a lot.
  • The following is the most important thing I do to keep hot water from sitting in the pipes and allowing heat to escape into the basement: I keep the hot water from escaping via the pipe.
  • However, most water pulls in the house are brief: a fast hand wash, soaking a towel, washing crumbs off the cutting board, and other such tasks.
  • In these situations, no one, including me, will leave the tap running long enough for hot water to reach the faucet.
  • If we have recently used the hot water and the water in the pipe is still hot, we may be grateful for the availability of hot water for these small squirts.
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Cool water, on the other hand, is typically OK with us.When we turn on the hot side of the faucet and take a small amount of water, a slug of hot water is forced into the pipe, even though we did not use any hot water.When we use another little amount of hot water an hour later, the water has cooled, but we don’t notice since we simply run the water for a couple of seconds and we weren’t expecting the hot water to reach the faucet in the first place.Another slug of hot water is injected into the pipe from the faucet.It would make no difference if the pipes were protected with insulation.

The water in the pipe will cool regardless of whether it is insulated, and we don’t normally utilize the hot water quickly enough to prevent this from happening.The answer is to keep the faucets on the cold side of the faucets.In my house, I keep all the faucets set on the cold side, unless I’m working at the sink for an extended period of time doing anything that requires hot water, such as dishwashing or showering.I don’t have the patience to wait for the hot water to reach the faucet.Whenever I require hot water, I make use of it; when I do not necessitate hot water, I do not mistakenly overflow the hot water pipe.When you use hot water, the amount of hot water that remains in the pipe is a function of the size of the pipe and the distance between the water heater and the faucet.

  1. When it comes to new construction, there are laws that limit the size of the pipe that may be used.
  2. I believe that this is more for water conservation (because a lot of water simply flows down the drain while you’re waiting for the hot water to come) than for electricity saving, although it is beneficial for both.
  3. The pipe arrangement may be set for low water volume between the tank and the tap in addition to suitably sizing the pipe between the tank and the tap.
  4. The bathrooms and kitchen can also be built back-to-back on top of one another, with the water tank directly below, allowing for a shorter length of hot water line to be used throughout the house.
  5. If you ever have to replace any of your hot water pipes, think about incorporating one of these solutions for conserving water and water-heating energy into the design of your new system.
  6. Because a water heater must be updated several times over the course of a home’s lifetime, it is an excellent opportunity to include energy-saving changes.

And finally, to bring it all together, let us return to the pipe insulation…There is one component of the hot water pipes that should always be insulated, and that is the connecting section.When there isn’t any hot water being utilized, the hot water in the tank frequently floats into the pipes.This is a result of poor design in water heaters manufactured in the United States.The thermosiphon effect occurs when the pipes are joined to the top of the tank and hot water in the tank rises into the pipes.Some tanks contain a device known as a heat trap that prevents this from happening, but some tanks do not, and I believe that the heat traps may not always operate well.

  • In most cases, thermosiphoning is a feeble force that does not carry hot water beyond the first elbow in the pipe.
  • As close as possible to the tank, insulate the pipe on both the HOT and COOL SIDE of the pipe joint.
  • Pipe insulation should be detailed precisely around fittings and elbows; if the insulation is not the type that has adhesive on the meeting edges, it should be taped in place to keep it in place.
  • When it comes to gas water heaters, be aware that the pipes may be very near to the flue pipe, exposing any insulation to extremely high temperatures (in this case, don’t insulate the pipes).
  • Keep in mind that this is intended to prevent your water heater from wasting electricity, not to provide you with rapid hot water at your faucet.
  • If that is what you are looking for, keep an eye out for a future post on demand recirculators.
  • If you truly want to insulate your pipes, then go ahead and do it.
  • However, do it with the understanding that it will not prevent frozen pipes and will not save energy.

Do-It-Yourself Savings Project: Insulate Hot Water Pipes

  1. ENERGY SAVINGS AT THE MEDIUM LEVEL OF THE PROJECT yearly growth rate of 3 to 4 percent FOR A SMALL HOUSE, IT WILL TAKE 3 HOURS TO COMPLETE OVERALL COST$10 – $15 per person Insulating your hot water pipes lowers heat loss and can boost water temperature 2°F–4°F hotter than uninsulated pipes can produce, allowing you to lower the temperature setting on your hot water faucets.
  2. You’ll also save time since you won’t have to wait as long for hot water when you switch on a faucet or showerhead, which helps you save on water usage.
  3. Payment for pipe insulation can be justified as a stand-alone project in terms of cost and time constraints.
  4. Uninsulated water pipes in or near external walls have the potential to rupture in cold conditions, resulting in a catastrophic loss of water pressure.
  • It is definitely worth the effort to have the insulation installed during the construction of a new house, when doing other repairs on your water heater or pipes, or to insulate the pipes yourself.
  • Significant energy savings can be realized in certain circumstances, such as when the fuel used to heat water is expensive, when the distance traveled by the pipes is long, when the pipes are exposed to extremely cold air (in which case they should be insulated anyway to prevent freezing), and when the household consumes a large amount of water, among other things.
  • In some instances, cost reductions may be sufficient to cover the expense of hiring someone to complete the task for you.
  • Source: ENERGY STAR’s Save Energy at Home campaign.


  • Determine the sort of insulating material you want to use, how much you will need (based on the length of the pipes), and the size of the pipe (be sure the internal diameter of the pipe sleeve is the same as the outside diameter of the pipe for a snug fit).
  • Electric water heaters are often insulated using plastic pipe sleeves composed of polyethylene or neoprene foam, which are the most prevalent types of insulation.
  • It is recommended that insulation be kept at least 6 inches away from the flue of a gas water heater. Use fiberglass pipe wrap (at least 1-inch thick) without a facing if your pipes are within 8 inches of the flue, since this will provide the most protection. To attach it to the pipe, you can use either wire or aluminum foil tape to hold it in place.


  • Pipe sleeves or strips of fiberglass insulation from your local hardware shop
  • a tape measure
  • Acrylic or duct tape, or cable ties, to fasten the sleeves—or aluminum foil tape or wire to secure the fiberglass pipe-wrap—are all acceptable methods of attachment.
  • If you’re using fiberglass pipe wrap, use gloves and long sleeves and pants to protect your hands.
  • To cut the insulation, you’ll need scissors, a box cutter, or a tool knife.
  • If you’re working in a crawl space or a dark location, use a headlamp or a light.


  1. 1) Take measurements of the pipes.
  2. Starting at the water heater, measure the lengths of insulation required to cover all accessible hot water pipes, with special attention paid to the first three feet of pipe leading from the heater.
  3. Insulating the cold-water input pipes for the first three feet of their length is also recommended.
  4. 2) Remove the pipe sleeve from the pipe.
  • Using the insulation, cut it to the lengths required.
  • 3) Insert the pipe sleeve into the pipe.
  • Place the pipe sleeve on the pipe so that the seam is facing down on the pipe.
  • 4) Insert the pipe sleeve and tighten it.
  • Every foot or two, tape, wire, or clamp (using a cable tie) it to the pipe to keep it from moving about.
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How to Insulate Water Supply Pipes Like a Pro. and Why You should!

  1. Insulation is often thought of as a way to keep heat from escaping or entering.
  2. Interior plumbing systems must be addressed in energy-efficient building design, and the appropriate insulation materials must be specified in the appropriate thicknesses.
  3. It is the capacity of insulation to avoid condensation, moisture incursion, and system failures that are of special importance to these mechanical systems.
  4. A common misconception is that all insulation is equally suited for all applications.
  • This is simply not true.
  • Cold and hot pipe systems, on the other hand, require distinct care, and faulty specification can result in system failures, energy waste, and even the shutdown of a facility.

Cold vs. Hot

  1. It is essential to design efficient water supply pipes in exposed places, especially in cold climates, when it comes to insulation.
  2. Any water supply pipes that are exposed to the elements, such as outside walls or unheated regions, have the potential to freeze, break, and cause flooding in a structure.
  3. Insulating cold water pipes can also help to keep the pipes from sweating as a result of condensation of moisture.
  4. Moisture management is crucial to the efficiency of thermal and chilled-water systems, among other things.
  • Excessive condensation can result in energy loss, increased running expenses, and even poor indoor air quality owing to mold and mildew growth.
  • Insulating hot water pipes can help you save money on your energy bills by preventing the piping from leaking heat to the surrounding environment.
  • Insulating hot water pipes can also boost the temperature of the water 2°F–4°F higher than the temperature that uninsulated pipes can produce, allowing for a lower water temperature setting to be used.
  • As an extra bonus, residents and tenants of a building will have less time waiting for hot water from a faucet, which will assist to preserve water.

Where and When to Insulate

  1. Those pipes that go through unheated areas in locations such as mechanical rooms, outside walls, unheated storage buildings, floor cavities above unheated crawl spaces, or even attics and basement spaces are the most important to protect if the aim is to prevent frozen water pipes and condensation.
  2. Heat tracing, in addition to insulation, may be required in some instances to provide further freeze protection in addition to insulation.
  3. Water-heating expenses must be kept as low as possible, which means that hot water pipes must be well insulated wherever they are accessible in a structure.
  4. If the purpose of pipe insulation is to reduce pipe sweating and mold concerns, then cold water pipes are the ones that are in the most need of insulation..

Installing Insulation Recommendations from “The Spruce”

  1. Tubular foam pipe insulation is a typical product to take into consideration.
  2. When it comes to covering larger sections of straight pipe, this device is quite convenient.
  3. Most foam pipe insulation is available in 6-foot lengths, allowing you to cover a large amount of ground in a short amount of time.
  4. The tubes can be built of either polyethylene foam or rubber-based insulation, and both are available in a wide range of diameters to accommodate a variety of pipe diameters.
  • Installing foam pipe insulation is one of the most straightforward of all insulation solutions, whether using standard tubes that require slitting and gluing or self-sealing alternatives.
  • Another method of insulating pipes, particularly for short portions or tight bends, is to wrap it or tape it with a heat-resistant substance.
  • Designed of flexible foam with a self-adhesive backing, you just wrap the pipe, fitting, or valve with the tape, generously overlapping the layers, and building up to the desired thickness in order to offer the required thermal performance.

The Right Product for the Job

  1. For many home plumbing applications, a polyethylene pipe insulation solution such as Tubolit® or Tundra® is the most suitable choice.
  2. PE foam insulation is a cost-effective and simple-to-install method of preventing pipes from freezing and keeping hot pipes warm and cold pipes cold.
  3. Tundra may be purchased in many retail hardware shops for the do-it-yourselfer, while Tubolit is the commercial brand for plumbing and refrigeration professionals.
  4. Tundra can be found in many retail hardware stores for the do-it-yourselfer.
  • ArmaFlex® tubes and ArmaFlex® Black LapSeal are closed-cell rubber-based tubular pipe insulation designed for professional usage in the construction industry.
  • ArmaFlex is the original foam insulation and is still the best choice for all types of pipe operating below 220°F (104°C).
  • ArmaFlex is flexible and easy to install.
  • ArmaFlex tubes help you save money on electricity by preventing condensation.
  • Armored flexible foam insulation, ArmaFlex® Shield is a moisture and UV resistant product with a long-lasting protective covering.
  • It is specifically intended for line set, HVAC, and refrigeration applications, among others.
  • Due to its toughness, it can withstand the rigors of hard installations while also withstanding the impacts of weather and harsh factors such as ultraviolet rays, heat, and cold, making it an excellent choice for outdoor applications.
  • ArmaFlex Shield® complies with the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE standard 90.1 criteria, making it an outstanding business solution for outdoor insulation.
  • This low-maintenance alternative to unprotected insulation is available in coils for convenient installation, and it removes the need to add a separate jacket while on the project, saving time and money.
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Inspecting Pipes in Exterior Walls and Pipe Insulation

  • Nick Gromicko, CMI®, and Ben Gromicko are the authors of this article. For house inspectors, there are two building practices linked to plumbing pipes and insulation that are beneficial to know about while completing home inspections: All pipes that are positioned on the exterior of the building should be insulated.
  • Insulation should be installed on all hot and cold water supply pipes.
  1. Water pipes should not be installed in external walls if at all possible.
  2. Additionally, if pipes are situated in external walls, the homeowner should make certain that as much cavity insulation as feasible is put between the pipe and the outside surface of the wall in addition to insulating the pipe.
  3. Plumbing pipes should not be installed in unheated attics, which should be avoided in colder climes.
  4. The picture above shows uninsulated water supply pipes in a basement that is not heated or cooled.
  • Insulating water pipes can help you save money on your energy bills by reducing heat loss via the piping.
  • It is possible that condensation can form on the pipes, which can result in mold and moisture damage.
  • Insulating pipes would lessen this danger.
  • If you have pipes that freeze and break in the winter, pipe insulation can prevent this from happening, which may cause severe damage to the walls of the house and result in hefty home repair expenditures for the homeowner.
  • According to research conducted by the Department of Energy’s Building America program, distribution heat loss in uninsulated hot water pipes can range from 16 percent to 23 percent, depending on the weather conditions.
  • Adding 3/4-inch pipe insulation can reduce overall water heating energy use by 4 percent to 5 percent per year, depending on the climate.
  • The ideal practice is to avoid having water pipes go through external walls or through unheated attics if possible.
  • When possible, plumbing fittings should be installed such that they are aligned with interior walls.
  • If pipes are positioned in outside walls, they should be insulated to prevent heat loss.
  • Air sealing the wall cavity housing the pipes will help to further protect them from heat loss.
  • Caulking or foaming all seams between the back wall of the cavity and the framing as well as sealing any holes through the framing for the piping will help to further protect them from heat loss.
  • It is also recommended that cavity insulation be constructed behind the pipes, between the pipes and the outside wall.
  • It is possible to minimize heat loss by as much as 90 percent by insulating the steam distribution and return pipes in a house that has a hydronic (steam or hot water) heating system, which results in a speedy payback on the investment.

An uninsulated hot water heating line from a central boiler in a Chicago residence is shown in the photo above.In the photo above, 1 inch of jacketed fiberglass is used to insulate the hot water heating pipes.Several types of pipe insulation are available, including: tubular pipe sleeves, spiral insulation wrap, and fiberglass batts that may be wrapped around the pipes with electrical tape or staples.All three of these devices have the potential to be successful if put appropriately.Flexible closed-cell polyethylene or neoprene foam tubular pipe sleeves are available in a variety of sizes and come pre-cut with a longitudinal seam for quick and easy installation.Some pipe covers are pre-adhered to both sides of the slit using adhesive strips, which saves time and effort.

  • Simply peel off the plastic covers and push them together, as instructed by the manufacturer.
  • Pipe sleeves come in a variety of diameters to suit the various sizes of pipes; thus, it is critical to measure the pipes before purchasing the sleeves and to match the pipe’s outer diameter to the pipe sleeve’s internal diameter to guarantee a snug fit between the pipes and the sleeves.
  • Fiberglass, foil, and polyethylene foam are all possible materials for spiral insulation wrap.
  • To use the material, the homeowner only needs to unroll it and wrap it over the hot and cold water pipes.
  • Pipes can also be insulated by wrapping them in fiberglass insulation.
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In certain cases, vapor barriers are built into the fiberglass insulation, but in other cases, the vapor barrier must be purchased and wrapped around each pipe after the fiberglass insulation has been put.When installing fiberglass insulation, it is recommended that you wear gloves, goggles, and a dust mask.How to Insulate Pipes with Tubular Foam Sleeves (with Pictures)

  1. Pipe sleeves should be cut to the appropriate length and wrapped around the pipe with the slit facing down, making sure there are no gaps between sleeves. If you need to cover bends in the pipe, create an elbow junction, and angle the ends of the foam to produce a mitered corner that matches the angle of the pipe.
  2. Discard the paper strips that were covering the self-sealing, pre-glued seam, and press the edges together.
  3. Apply acrylic or aluminum foil tape over the seams and joints to strengthen the longevity of the joint tape.
  4. Every 1 to 2 feet, fasten the insulation (and plastic covering) to the pipe using wire, tape, a plastic tie, or a metal clamp.
  5. To seal any holes where the pipes penetrate walls, floors, ceilings, or framework, caulk or foam should be used
  6. If you have pipes that run through external wall cavities, insulate them in the same manner that you would the other cavities if you were to add blown cellulose, fiberglass or spray foam, which will fill in the area behind the pipes with ease. If you’re putting fiberglass or mineral wool batts, cut the batt in half lengthwise before installing it. Fit half of the batt into the cavity by sliding it behind the pipes and into the cavity. Fill the hollow with the remainder of the batt, which should be placed in front of the pipes. Alternatively, a piece of firm foam can be cut to meet the size of the wall cavity. Install the foam adhesive by running a bead around the back of the foam, sliding it under the pipe, and pressing it into position to secure it to the back wall of the cavity. Caulk or canned foam can be used to air-seal the margins of the cavity to the frame of the cavity. Wrap the pipes with a split batt and secure it in place.

As shown above, tubular pipe insulation sleeves include a pre-cut seam, which makes it simple to wrap them around the pipes and seal the joints. Instructions on how to use spiral wrap or fiberglass batts to insulate pipes.

  1. Tape the end of the spiral wrap or fiberglass batt to the pipe to keep it from falling off.
  2. The insulation should be wrapped around the pipe in a spiral form, with each succeeding layer of tape or batt insulation overlapping the previous layer by 12 inches for tape or half the thickness of batt insulation. As much as feasible, wrap the batts in a loose manner because compressing them will diminish their R-value.
  3. Alternatively, if you are installing fiberglass insulation without using a moisture barrier, wrap plastic over the insulated pipe and seal it with tape to prevent the insulation from becoming wet.
  4. Maintain a 1 to 2 foot spacing between each wire, tape, plastic tie, or metal clamp to protect the insulation (and plastic covering) from shifting
  5. To seal any holes where the pipes penetrate walls, floors, ceilings, or framework, caulk or foam should be used
  6. If you have pipes that run through external wall cavities, insulate them in the same manner that you would the other cavities if you were to add blown cellulose, fiberglass or spray foam, which will fill in the area behind the pipes with ease. If you’re putting fiberglass or mineral wool batts, cut the batt in half lengthwise before installing it. Fit half of the batt into the cavity by sliding it behind the pipes and into the cavity. Fill the hollow with the remainder of the batt, which should be placed in front of the pipes. Alternatively, a piece of firm foam can be cut to meet the size of the wall cavity. Install the foam adhesive by running a bead around the back of the foam, sliding it under the pipe, and pressing it into position to secure it to the back wall of the cavity. Caulk or canned foam can be used to air-seal the margins of the cavity to the frame of the cavity. Wrap the pipes with a split batt and secure it in place.
  1. Overlap each subsequent layer of insulation as you wrap it around the pipe as shown in the illustration above.
  2. Above: Wrap batt insulation over the pipe in a loose enough manner so that the insulation does not become compressed, then fasten it with wire or tape.
  3. How to Insulate Steam Pipes (with Pictures) Any surface that will be exposed to temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit should be insulated, including boiler surfaces, steam and condensate return pipework, and fittings.
  1. Measure the length of the pipe that you are insulating and cut the fiberglass sleeve to the appropriate length. Because other types of insulation can melt, use 1-inch-thick, heavy-density, resin-bonded fiberglass sleeves that have been certified for use with steam or hot water heating systems.
  2. Pulling on the release strip on the pre-cut fiberglass sleeve will allow it to be opened.
  3. In order to properly seal the pipe, wrap the sleeve around it twice and place it over the self-sealing lap.
  4. Apply pressure to the adhesive strip to ensure that it adheres to both the lap and the sleeve.
  5. Tape the pipe where the two sleeves come together using a high-temperature tape.
  6. Removeable insulating jackets should be installed on elbows, tees, and other pipe fittings.
  7. To seal any holes where the pipes penetrate walls, floors, ceilings, or framework, caulk or foam should be used
  8. If you have pipes that run through external wall cavities, insulate them in the same manner that you would the other cavities if you were to add blown cellulose, fiberglass or spray foam, which will fill in the area behind the pipes with ease. If you’re putting fiberglass or mineral wool batts, cut the batt in half lengthwise before installing it. Fit half of the batt into the cavity by sliding it behind the pipes and into the cavity. Fill the hollow with the remainder of the batt, which should be placed in front of the pipes. Alternatively, a piece of firm foam can be cut to meet the size of the wall cavity. Install the foam adhesive by running a bead around the back of the foam, sliding it under the pipe, and pressing it into position to secure it to the back wall of the cavity. Caulk or canned foam can be used to air-seal the margins of the cavity to the frame of the cavity. Wrap the pipes with a split batt and secure it in place.
  • A vapor barrier cover and self-adhesive seam are included with high-density fiberglass pipe insulation, as shown in the photo above. Summary Pipes should not be installed in outside walls unless absolutely necessary. If the pipes must be built in external walls, the homeowner should make certain that the pipes are properly insulated and that appropriate cavity insulation is provided behind the pipes before installing the pipes. When you air-seal the wall cavity, you will be able to prevent cold air from moving around the pipes and producing frozen pipes issues. All hot and cold water supply pipes should be insulated, which may help you save money on energy by reducing heat loss via the piping system. Resources from the 2012 International Energy Conservation Conference (International Energy Conservation Code) Table 402.4.1.1 contains the following information: The insulation should be trimmed to fit around the wiring and plumbing in the outside walls
  • insulation that adapts to the area should be installed behind the piping and wiring to complete the insulation.
  • R403.3 The following conditions must be met: the pipe is in an unconditioned space
  • it is larger than 34-inch diameter
  • it serves more than one dwelling
  • it runs from the water heater to the kitchen
  • it runs from the water heater to a distribution manifold
  • it is located under the floor slab
  • it is buit-in
  • it is insulated to a minimum of R-3
  • it is buit-in to a mechanical system
  • it is buit-in to a mechanical system
  • and it is bu The length of pipe is 30 feet for 3/8-inch pipe, 20 feet for 12-inch pipe, 10 feet for 3-inch pipe, and 5 feet for anything bigger than 3/4-inch.

How to Keep Your Pipes Warm When It’s Cold Outside

  1. Water pipes can get frozen as a result of very cold weather.
  2. When water freezes in a pipe, it causes a great deal of pressure inside the pipe, which can cause the pipe to break and cause major flooding, especially if no one is around to cut off the water.
  3. The most effective method of preventing frozen pipes is to keep them warm enough to maintain temperatures above freezing.
  4. This may be accomplished with any one of six straightforward actions, or, much better, with a combination of measures.

Not Just for Cold Climates

  1. It is a prevalent notion that frozen pipes are a problem that primarily affects homes in cold climes.
  2. This is not true.
  3. Homes in normally warmer climes, on the other hand, are more prone to frozen pipes because the pipes may not be sufficiently insulated against low temperatures, or they may be positioned in exposed places that are not adequately protected from freezing temperatures (or even outdoors).
  4. These pipelines are at risk because of unusually cold temperatures.
  • It is just the water supply pipes that you need to be concerned about, not the drain pipes, no matter where you reside.
  • Water pipes are tiny, with a diameter of just approximately 1 inch or somewhat smaller.
  • Drain pipes are typically 1 1/2 inches in diameter or greater and are constructed of plastic.
  • The freezing of drain pipes is not an issue since they do not store water and are not pressured in the same way that water pipes are, thus the freezing of drain pipes is not a concern.

Tip1: Keep the Heat On

  1. In the event that you or your renters will be out for an extended period of time, make certain that the heat in your property is maintained turned on.
  2. Even though your renters are responsible for paying their own utility costs, it may be difficult to persuade them to leave their heat on when they are away from home.
  3. You should remind them that heat can assist prevent pipes from freezing, and that if pipes freeze and break, it can result in a significant amount of water damage to the home and their belongings.
  4. Even while the temperature does not need to be maintained at the same level as it would be if you were physically present on the property, maintaining it over 50 degrees Fahrenheit is a good idea.
  • This should supply enough heat to keep the pipes warm and prevent any water that may be contained inside them from becoming frozen.

Tip2: Allow the Faucet to Drip

If you are concerned about a pipe freezing, you can open the faucet that is supplied by that pipe just a little bit so that the faucet drips a little amount.Allowing the faucet to be opened in this manner helps to alleviate pressure in the system.″ In the event that a pipe freezes, it is the pressure that builds up between the obstruction and the faucet that will cause the pipe to break.Allowing the faucet to remain open will prevent this pressure from building up and, as a result, will prevent the pipe from bursting altogether.To warm a faucet that is serviced by both hot and cold water pipes, open both faucet taps slightly or set a single-handle faucet (such as a kitchen faucet) to the warm setting on its handle.

Tip3: Keep Interior Doors Open

Pipes are frequently seen within cabinets. Keeping these cabinet doors open as the temperature lowers will allow the heat from the rest of the home to circulate through the pipes, keeping them warm as a result of the lower temperature. Additionally, you should leave all inside doors open to allow the heat to circulate throughout the house.

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Tip4: Seal up Cracks and Holes

Fill up any gaps around pipes that go through walls or floors, especially if the opening is allowing cold air to enter.Fill up the cracks with caulk or spray foam insulation (such as Great Stuff) to keep the cold air out.If at all feasible, seal holes on both the inner and external sides of a wall or floor to prevent further damage.Chilly external air that seeps into a cabinet compartment through cracks and gaps can make a cabinet compartment that is already quite cold considerably colder.

Tip5: Apply Heating Tape

Heating tape functions in the same way as an electric blanket for pipes, giving heat directly to the pipe to keep it warm and therefore preventing cold periods from occurring.When dealing with short parts of pipe that are at high risk of freezing and are easily accessible, this might be a suitable option since you can put the tape and monitor it for issues.There are two types of heating tape available: electric and gas.One kind automatically turns on and off when it detects that heat is required.Because it does not have an automatic or manual on/off switch, the other kind must be plugged in whenever heat is required and disconnected whenever it is not in use.

These goods, like a space heater, may be quite dangerous, therefore you must strictly adhere to the product’s instructions and safety measures at all times.

Tip6: Add Extra Insulation

Pipes that are positioned in regions that do not have adequate insulation, such as basements or attics, may require additional insulation in order to prevent them from being frozen.Not only are pipes in basements and attics susceptible to freezing, but so are pipes in other parts of the house as well.If you’ve ever had a problem with pipes freezing in any part of your home, adding more insulation could be the solution.Pipes can be insulated with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves to assist reduce the likelihood of them becoming frozen.Using this method to insulate exposed pipes can be a simple and inexpensive option, but it can be costly if walls, floors, or ceilings must be opened in order to effectively insulate the pipe.

It is also possible to add additional insulation to the walls and ceilings in order to protect the pipes from freezing.Insulation can assist in keeping a pipe closer to the temperature of the water contained inside the pipe, but it does not contribute heat to the pipe and will not prevent freezing if the pipe is exposed to freezing conditions for an extended period of time.

Foam Pipe Insulation – Does It Work?

This post may include affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on them.Incorporating foam pipe insulation into both your hot and cold water pipes may be a cost-effective and simple solution that can help you conserve water while also lowering your monthly energy bills.Did you know that heating your domestic hot water may account for approximately 20% of your total energy cost in the majority of households?An typical family’s annual expenditure on hot water might be rather startling when calculated over an entire calendar year.Plastic pipe insulation (polyethylene foam pipe insulation) is a low-cost tube-shaped foam that is 3/8″ or 5/8″ thick and commonly comes in 6-foot lengths.

An internal slit runs through the middle of each foam tube, allowing the foam to be easily slipped over an existing pipe.In addition, the tubes have an integrated adhesive strip that makes it simple to adhere the foam to the pipe.Many advantages may be gained from wrapping your hot and cold water pipes with foam.The hot water contained within your pipes will remain hotter for a longer amount of time than before.The hot water in the pipes cools as it rests in the pipes.

  • The hot water must be turned on for a few seconds before the hot water from the tank may be drawn from the faucet.
  • By coating the pipe with foam insulation, it will be easier to keep the water hot between uses, reducing the need to simply turn on the faucet.

What’s The Advantage?

Insulating pipes in your house may bring a number of benefits, and foam pipe insulation can be used on both cold and hot water pipes, depending on the application.Reduce the amount of heat that escapes.When it comes to hot water pipes, foam pipe insulation can assist avoid heat loss.It helps to keep the temperature of the water roughly 2-4 degrees higher than it would be if the pipes were uninsulated.This implies that you will need less energy to heat your water, which will result in a savings on your energy bills.

Prevent Freezing from Occurring When it comes to cold water pipes, foam pipe insulation is used to keep them from freezing during the winter months.Freezing may result in a variety of issues, including clogging of your water system, floods, and fractured pipes, among others.All of these issues are quite expensive to restore.Water pipe insulation is especially critical in subterranean applications, unheated places such as lofts, and on the outside of a building’s walls.These are the locations that are more susceptible to freezing and are more difficult to reach.

  • When your pipes are properly insulated, they will operate at a higher temperature and will be less susceptible to damage from harsh weather conditions.
  • Prevent excessive sweating In addition, foam pipe insulation aids in the elimination of humidity and pipe sweating.
  • As soon as a cold pipe comes into touch with hot, moist air, the vapor condenses on the pipe’s surface and becomes trapped there.
  • The condensed vapor will leak onto the surface underneath it, where it can cause rot and mold to develop.
  • The use of foam insulation prevents vapor from collecting on the surface of the pipe, hence reducing pipe sweating and humidity.

Installing Foam Pipe Insulation

  • Installing foam pipe insulation is rather simple, but there are a few procedures you need take to guarantee that the insulation is effective. To complete this task, you will need the following tools: The following items are required: foam insulation, measuring tape, tape, cutting tool.

Installing foam insulation is simple if you follow these steps: 1.To ensure that you have the appropriate size of insulation, measure the diameter of your pipe.Then you’ll need to measure the length of the pipes to determine the size of insulation you’ll want.2: Cut the foam pipe insulation to the appropriate length and slide it over the pipe.Adhesive should be used to seal the foam insulation.

As an additional precaution, it is advised that you use insulating tape to bind adjacent pieces of foam insulation together.Foam works extremely well as a sound insulator.Despite the fact that it is not its primary function, foam can assist in the reduction of loud pipes.Condensation, sometimes known as ″sweating pipes,″ can be reduced by wrapping both the hot and cold pipes.If you have a completed basement with a drop ceiling, you are well aware of the potential devastation that a sweating pipe may do!

  • Pipe insulation is a low-cost option.
  • Insulation for several feet of pipe may be purchased for a few dollars, if necessary.

Keys To Proper Installation Of Foam Pipe Insulation

The most important thing to remember is to ensure that the insulation system is completely sealed – from cuts and joints to termination points and connections – at all times.Ensure that all possible air and moisture entrance holes are sealed with the appropriate insulation tape and insulation glue.The adhesive eliminates the need to apply and cover glue throughout the whole length of your pipe cuts and allows you to concentrate on the termination points and joints instead.When it comes to insulating your pipes, avoid using shortcuts such as zip ties or duct tape.Zip ties generate compression points over time, which might lead to complications.

When temperatures change, duct tape compresses and expands in a different way than insulating foam, which can cause issues when temperatures fluctuate.

Foam Pipe Insulation Maintenance

Maintaining your insulation is a simple operation that requires only frequent inspections when the seasons change and no special tools.Moving your finger over the joints and seams will reveal whether or not the insulation is enough.In the event that your finger fits between the joints, you will need to apply extra glue.Another piece of advice is to keep an eye out for bugs that might cause problems with the insulation.Insulating your pipes before severe weather comes and monitoring your pipes on a regular basis will help you save both time and money in the long run.

Overall – Foam Pipe Insulation

A simple and inexpensive approach to save money on your energy cost is to insulate your pipes.Here’s the inside scoop.You can do it on your own!It is not necessary to employ an expensive contractor to install it for you.Your expenditure on labor to install the insulation may exceed the amount of money you save on energy bills.

Anyone can install pipe insulation if they have a sharp knife or pair of scissors, as well as a little patience.

The Top 3 Pipe Insulation Materials

Fiberglass, foam, and rubber are among the most effective materials for pipe insulation.Get bids from as many as three professionals!Enter your zip code below to get matched with top-rated professionals in your area.There are a variety of pipe insulation materials available, and the optimal one for your pipes will depend on a number of criteria, including the location and kind of pipes in your home, as well as the reason for insulating them.Typically, pipe insulation materials such as fiberglass are appropriate for pipes that are subjected to high temperatures, whereas foam and rubber are better suited for cold water pipe lines but are also effective in hot water pipe lines.

We’ll go through the three most prevalent pipe insulation materials, their applications, and the environments in which they operate best to help you determine which one(s) is ideal for your project and which one(s) fits your individual demands and budget.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Pipe Insulation

When preparing to insulate your pipes, there are several factors to consider, including the location of the pipes, their kind, and the reason for insulate them.


The position of your pipes dictates whether or not you need to insulate them.In order to keep them from freezing, whether they’re outside or indoors in a non-heated place such as an unfinished basement or a crawl space, you’ll need to insulate them, especially if you live in a region where the temperature often gets below 32 degrees F.You should always use pipe insulation with the greatest R-insulation rating possible if this is the case for you.

Type of Pipes

Copper, PVC, and PEX pipes, to mention a few of the types of pipes that are often found in most houses, are among the most common. Despite the fact that insulation materials are quite diverse, certain forms of insulation perform better than others depending on the substance of the pipe.

Reasons for Insulating Your Pipes

When selecting the best materials for pipe insulation, this is one of the most critical considerations to make.One of the most important reasons to insulate your pipes is to keep them from freezing; maintaining a consistent temperature is key.Reduced condensation and perspiration are two more benefits of insulating plumbing pipes.For example, an insulated hot water pipe operates more efficiently than one that is exposed to wind and the environment because it retains hot water more effectively.

Types of Pipe Insulation

Pipe insulation is available in a variety of shapes and sizes.Regardless of whether you pick foam, fiberglass, or rubber insulation, you can purchase these materials in a variety of forms, including tubular, pre-formed sections that wrap around the pipe, tape, and a wrapping sheet.The majority of pipe insulation types have ratings in the single digits.These are some of the most often encountered in the business.

Foam Insulation

Foam insulation is the most economical sort of pipe insulation material available when compared to the other options.Although it may be used with both hot and cold pipes, its performance is optimal when low-temperature pipes are utilized.Its pricing starts at roughly $1.50 per linear foot and it is available in a variety of colors.Pipes made of copper or PVC can be protected by foam insulation.This material is simple to apply and comes with an adhesive that self-seals after it has been applied to the surface.

Fiberglass Insulation

It is possible to use fiberglass pipe insulation materials with both cold and hot water pipes with success.However, it is preferable to put them on copper pipes that transmit hot water rather than other materials since they maintain the temperature better than others.One thing to bear in mind is that these are significantly more expensive than the majority of other alternatives.For three- to six-foot tubular parts, the price per linear foot is around $2.50 per linear foot.

Rubber Insulation

Rubber, like foam and fiberglass, is a very adaptable material that may be used for both cold and hot pipes. It may be used with copper, PVC, and iron pipes, among other materials. In terms of pricing, the typical cost is halfway between foam and fiberglass, at around $1 per linear foot on average.

Fiberglass vs. Foam vs. Rubber

Goffkein may be found at Fortunately, when evaluating pipe insulation choices, all of the materials from which to pick are diverse, user-friendly, and most importantly, effective at their respective jobs…. You may also utilize more than one sort of pipe insulation for your project if you so want.



  • Can be utilized in both cold and hot conducting pipes
  • can be used in both cold and hot conducting pipes
  • When used in heated pipes, it performs best.
  • Installation is simple.
  • It is packaged in tubes and wrappers.


  • More pricey than the competition
  • As a result, it is not as flexible as rubber or foam.



  • It performs best when used with cold water pipes.
  • Material that is flexible, inexpensive, and mold resistant.


  • No as preferable for hot pipes 



  • It is adaptable and versatile.
  • Pipes made of copper, PVC, and iron are all compatible.
  • It is suitable for use in air conditioning and plumbing lines.
  • For both hot and cold pipes, this is a suitable option.
  • Mold and condensation are not a problem with this product.
  • Fire-rated


  • Slightly expensive


Where should I buy pipe insulation materials?

Pipe insulation products may be purchased at your local hardware shop or at big home improvement retailers. When purchasing, make sure you know the measurements of your pipes so that you can get pipe insulation materials that are the proper size for your pipes.

What are the benefits of insulating my pipes?

The advantages of insulating your pipes include the prevention of freezing, sweating, and condensation on the pipes. Insulating your pipes can also help you save money on energy costs by preventing your pipes from losing or absorbing heat during the winter and summer.

Can I insta

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