Layering Up For Winter – Plumbing Insulation

Wrapping plumbingDuring the cold months, we love our layers. And we’re not just talking long johns, either. We’re talking about layering up our water pipes and water heaters with insulation to help them retain heat, prevent frozen pipes and reduce our water heating costs.

Why Worry about Frozen Pipes?
It’s not the frozen pipe that does damage, it’s the frozen pipe that bursts (frozen water expands and puts pressure on the copper or PVC piping). When thawing eventually occurs, the pipe leak at the burst point (frequently undetected), potentially creating thousands of dollars’ worth of damage in a short amount of time.

Water Pipe Insulation – It’s an Inside, DIY Job
Besides protection against water damage, insulating your pipes is a pretty straightforward effort – ideal for the novice DIY-er.

The experts at energy.gov offer the following thoughts on pipe insulation:
· Insulated hot water pipes reduce heat loss and can raise water temperature by 2°F–4°F hotter (as compared to uninsulated pipes), which allows consumers to lower the setting on their water heater.

· Insulating water pipes is an excellent DIY project (that’s the most cost-effective approach).

· Research your insulation needs – various insulation materials are available (pipe wrap, foam and fiberglass insulation are a few examples).

· Do some math – measure the length of the pipes to be insulated to determine how much insulation to purchase.

· Do a little more math -- Measure the pipe diameter to ensure you purchase the right size

· When insulating water heater pipes, be aware of the different requirements for gas vs. electric water heaters. According to energy.gov, “for electric water heaters, pipe sleeves made with polyethylene or neoprene foam are the most commonly used insulation. For gas water heaters, insulation should be kept at least 6 inches from the flue. If pipes are within 8 inches of the flue, your safest choice is to use fiberglass pipe-wrap (at least 1-inch thick) without a facing. You can use either wire or aluminum foil tape to secure it to the pipe.”

Water You Waiting For? Talk to an expert about your frozen pipe concerns. Allied Reddi-Rooter’s team of experts can offer advice and insight on how to best protect your home or business from frozen or burst pipes. Call today: (513) 396-5300.

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