Benefits of Insulating Plumbing Supply Pipes

Insulating Water Pipes is Easy to Do and Offers a Number of Advantages

By Mark J. Donovan

There are several good reasons for insulating your plumbing supply pipes, and in some parts of the country, building codes actually mandate its use. The benefits of insulating plumbing pipes are listed below, along with the various types of plumbing pipe insulation solutions.

Prevent Cracked Pipes

First and foremost, installing pipe insulation around your plumbing pipes helps prevent them from freezing and bursting in the event they are exposed to below freezing temperatures.

Cracked plumbing pipes can cause very extensive and expensive damage, potentially forcing homeowners out of their home for awhile during home repairs.

When water freezes it expands. And when it expands in plumbing pipes it has no where to go. This creates incredible pressure inside the plumbing supply pipes until they eventually burst. And when plumbing pipes do burst, they often crack along a length of the pipe, versus just a single hole. Thus an entire section of plumbing pipe needs to be replaced.

Reduction in Heat Gain and Loss

Insulting plumbing pipes also has another key benefit. Insulated pipes save on home energy bills. For example, insulated hot water plumbing pipes lose less heat when hot water is transferred from the water heater to the faucet demanding the hot water. Thus a homeowner can save money by preventing the heat transfer loss, and in addition get hot water to the faucet quicker. Similarly, insulating cold plumbing pipes helps prevent cold water from warming up as it travels from the cold water storage tank to the demanding cold water faucet.

Mitigating Condensation

Insulating plumbing pipes also helps to reduce or eliminate condensation that can lead to the corrosion of copper pipes and their fixtures that hold them in place. When warm moist air, such as in a basement during summer months, comes in contact with cold plumbing pipes small droplets of water can form on the pipe surfaces. When this occurs, the water droplets can cause the pipes and fixtures to rust.

In addition, the water droplets can spill onto the floor and other surfaces and can cause water damage, and lead to mold and mildew growth.

Installing plumbing pipe insulation is very easy and inexpensive to do. All you need is a utility knife and some electrical tape for sealing seams to install plumbing pipe insulation.

Solutions for Insulating Plumbing Pipes

Conventional plumbing pipe foam insulation comes in common lengths and diameters to support standard plumbing pipe diameters. The foam pipe insulation has a slit already down the length of it so that it can easily be slid over the plumbing pipe.

There is also self-sealing pipe foam insulation. With this type of foam pipe insulation there is an adhesive along the slit in the pipe insulation protected by clear plastic tape. After slipping the foam pipe insulation over the plumbing pipes, simply remove the plastic tape and press the two edges of the seam together to form a tight seal.

For a more robust solution you can higher a professional to come in and apply spray foam insulation over the plumbing pipes. This solution, however, is more expensive and makes it difficult to ever work on the plumbing pipes in the event you need to some day.

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