Conserve water and energy while saving money.
One of the best methods to save money and energy around your home during winter months is to insulate your hot water pipes. Pipe insulation works well for both hot water and cold water plumbing.
For hot water pipes, insulation traps the escaping heat from the pipe which helps to lower your energy costs. Cold water pipe insulation prevents condensation from dripping off.
Insulating plumbing pipes is a straightforward process that most homeowners can do. Materials are affordable and available at your local home center or hardware store. Follow our easy DIY guide to have it done in just a few hours.
DIY Hot Water Pipes Insulation
Before you begin pipe insulation make sure to:
- Check your owner’s manual for the required clearance from the water heater and its flue vent. Certain foams could release toxic gases if they burn.
- Determine the type of insulation to use:
- For gas water heaters, the safest choice is fiberglass pipe-wrap (at least 1-inch thick) if your pipes are within 8 inches from the flue. You can use either wire or aluminum foil tape to secure it to the pipe.
- For electric water heaters, pipe sleeves made of polyethylene or neoprene foam are the most regularly used.
- Measure the pipe. This step will tell you how much you will need (length of the pipe), and the size of the pipe (secure the pipe sleeve’s inside the diameter to the pipe’s outside diameter for a tight fit).
What You Need:
- Tape measure
- Pipe sleeves or strips of fiberglass pipe wrap from your hardware store
- Acrylic/duct tape/cable ties to secure the pipe sleeves or aluminum foil tape or wire to bind the fiberglass pipe wrap
- Gloves, long covers, and pants if you are using fiberglass pipe wrap
- Scissors, box cutter, or utility knife
- Turn off the Power -Locate your home’s circuit breaker and find the switch that controls the power of the hot water tank then turn it off.
- Clean & Measure the pipe – First, clean the dirt and debris from the pipes. Then, starting from the water heater, measure the length of insulation needed to cover all accessible hot water pipes, mainly the first 3 feet of pipe from the water heater. It’s also a great idea to insulate the cold water inlet pipes for the first 3 feet. Also, remember the classic saying: measure twice, cut once.
- Cut the Pipe Sleeves to the Various Lengths Needed – Now that you’ve measured all the essential lengths of insulation you’ll need, take your cutting tool and cut the insulation. Again, be sure to consider any angles and connections in the piping and make your cuts a little long to start off.
- Place the Insulation on Pipes – Choose a starting point along the piping and begin putting the pipe sleeve in place. As you’re doing this, you’ll need to trim some of the pieces to secure a snug fit. Also, make sure to double check that you’re using the correct sized insulation. Don’t leave space between the pipe and the insulation as it will be less efficient.
- Secure the Insulation – Tape, wire, or use cable ties to secure it around the insulation in every foot or two. Also, be sure that every connection between pipes is ensured. Doing so will help to guarantee that your insulation stays in place and that you have a good seal.
- Turn On the Power – Now, that you are all done, just turn back on the power from the circuit breaker.
DIY or Expert Service
Installing your water pipe insulation is usually as easy as purchasing pipe sleeves, you just have to cut them to a proper length, and secure them in place with tape.
But some hard-to-reach parts of pipe may be a job for a licensed, experienced plumber. If you’re planning to do this project and discover you need professional help, contact Einstein Pros.