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Should You Insulate Your Water Pipes?


When you are deciding whether or not to insulate your water pipes, consider the climate in which you live. If you live somewhere that gets cold in the winter there is a higher possibility of your cold water pipes freezing. Insulating your cold water pipes can help to prevent this problem from occurring which will save you money in repair bills. And what about insulating hot water pipes? Water pipe insulation helps retain heat so insulating the hot water pipes will ensure that the heat is not escaping.

Hot Water Pipes

It always makes sense to insulate the hot water pipes in your home. It is inexpensive to do and it will save you from having the heat escaping. It is a fairly easy project that you can do on your own for a small fee.

Insulating hot water pipes reduces heat loss. It will provide energy savings of 3% – 4% annually and is only a $10 – $15 expense and about 3 hours of your time.

Aside from preventing heat loss, it will keep your water temperature 2 – 4 degrees hotter than uninsulated pipes will provide. You will be able to lower your water temperature setting and you will not have to wait as long for hot water. This means that you will also be conserving water since you do not need to run the shower as long in order to have it heat up.Copper Pipes

Cold Water Pipes

The issue of cold water pipes and insulation is a little more complex. Again, it is not expensive and can be done easily but is it necessary? It can depend on the climate you have year-round.

When you insulate your cold water pipes it makes it less likely they will freeze if the temperature drops in colder climates. If pipes are in a conditioned space a cold water pipe will not absorb hear. In a humid climate, cold pipes are prone to condensation issues. If you have a fully taped, insulated cold water pipe then it will not collect moisture on the surface.

Many homes have uninsulated copper and Pex pipes that run through the basement ceiling joists. If the temperature drops below freezing the cold-water pipes can freeze. Water pipe insulation has an above-average resistance to thermal energy movement so insulating the pipes can help to prevent freezing. Wrapping the pipes with this insulating material will help to keep heat energy inside which will protect the pipes from freezing.

The cost of insulating pipes is quite minimal and can be beneficial for reasons aside from freezing. Coldwater pipes can absorb heat so uninsulated pipes would have a continual low-level draw off heat from the building. Since the cost of insulating the pipes is low it is worth considering saving money in the long run.

When you insulate cold water pipes it will also get rid of any concerns of condensation. The pipes in basements and crawl spaces are surrounded by damp soil and concrete. The humidity levels are higher and cold water pipes naturally have condensing surfaces. If you store anything in and around the area where the pipes are located the items could be ruined by moisture. You can prevent the issue of condensation by insulating the pipes and making sure the insulation is sealed along the seams. By doing this, moisture in the air will not come into contact with the pipes.

You can pay someone to insulate your pipes or you can do it on your own. It is best done during the construction of the home but if you want to insulate pipes in an older home that was not built with water pipe insulation it can be done. The savings you will have in future years when you insulate your pipes would offset the cost of having a professional come in to do the job.

For an estimate on what it would cost you to insulate the pipes in your home, contact the professionals at Nautilus Plumbing if you are in the Los Angeles area.