When cold temperatures hit, it becomes especially important to make sure that your home’s water pipes have been properly insulated. This is because water supply pipes that are located in unheated areas like basements and crawl spaces or that are exposed to exterior walls have the potential to freeze.
With frozen pipes comes frozen water. When the water freezes, it expands in size inside the pipe. This then causes bursting pipes that flood your home and result in water damage. This damage can harm your home’s ceilings, walls, flooring, and belongings. Depending on the extent of the damage, this can end up costing you thousands of dollars to repair. The best way to save yourself this trouble is to prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place.
There are more benefits to insulating your home’s water pipes than preventing pipe bursts. Water pipe insulation also makes for a more energy efficient home.
In the summer, you can reduce the humidity with insulation for cold water pipes, as the insulation prevents pipe condensation. With this, you will spend less money to cool your home, because the humidity levels will be lower. Less condensation will also mean that your pipes will not rust and deteriorate as quickly.
For hot water pipes, the insulation prevents pipes from losing heat. This causes the water to retain more heat, reducing the energy costs of heating the water.
With all of this in mind, it is well worth it to take the time and spend the money to have your home’s water pipes insulated. This simple investment can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars by avoiding burst pipes in the winter that can cause major property damage.
Depending on what you want to achieve, there are different ways to approach the pipe insulation. To prevent frozen pipes, you will want to insulate the pipes that are located in unheated places, such as exterior walls and unheated attics, basements, and crawlspaces. This includes both hot-water and cold-water pipes. To prevent sweating pipes and reduce humidity levels, you only need to insulate cold water pipes.
Regardless of which pipes you want to insulate, there are different materials you can purchase. Refer to the following guide to learn about the different types of pipe insulation.
Types of Insulation
Pipe-wrap insulation is the traditional way to insulate piping. An advantage to pipe-wrap insulation is that it is simple to install, and it is best used for shorter pipes and piping that bends.
Assuming the insulation you got isn’t self-adhesive, you attach one end of the insulation to one end of the pipe using duct tape. Then wrap the rest of the pipe with the material. Every wrap of the insulation should overlap by at least 1/2 an inch. Once you’ve finished wrapping the pipe, be sure to tape it down, and make sure the pipe is thoroughly covered.
Among the types of pipe-wrap insulation available are bubble film, foam, foam-and-foil, fiberglass, flexible foam with rubber backing tape, foil-backed natural cotton, multi-purpose fiberglass, and rubber pipe insulation tape. Fiberglass tends be better suited for hot temperatures while foam works well for cold temperatures.
Tubular Sleeve Insulation
Tubular sleeve insulation is better for long, straight piping and can also be installed easily. The sleeves are essentially pipe covers that you simply place over the pipe and seal it at the seam using tape — which is recommended even if the sleeve is self-adhesive. However, you’ll need to alter it for a tight fit, so cut the sleeve’s corners to better fit the pipe’s shape.
Tubular sleeves can either be insulated with foam or rubber, are usually available in 6-foot lengths, and come in different size diameters to fit various pipe sizes from 1/2-inch to 1-inch.
Tubular sleeves are typically made of rubber or polyethylene foam.
If you insulate your pipes before the winter and maintain their insulation, not only will you be able to protect your home from burst pipes, but you can also make your home is more energy efficient. With such protection and efficiency, you’ll save yourself some money in the long run.
Now that colder weather is here, it is imperative that you take the necessary actions to prevent burst pipes. Make sure the pipes in the uninsulated areas of your home are insulated before the winter season truly sets in.
In the event that you do experience burst pipes in your home that cause water damage, contact ServiceMaster Professional Services for water damage restoration services from our experts. We can be reached on a 24/7 basis and will arrive to your residence to professionally clean and dry your property and belongings.