How to Insulate Hot Water Pipes
Obviously to retrofit is going to be much harder than to install insulation to save electricity during
construction of a home, but there are options for DIY that are not costly and will save you money in the medium
So why should you insulate hot water pipes in the first place?
Up to 30% of the household energy demand is for hot water heating and if it is sent to the tap in unprotected
piping it can arrive lukewarm unless you keep the thermostat turned right up.
In itself this is costly as a high water temperature needs to be maintained and when it does arrive at the tap
it can be dangerously high.
So what are the best ways to do this? Firstly take a look at your piping and see what condition it is in.
Old piping may be corroded and have leaking joints which make it pointless just to cover over.
In these situations, depending on access to the whole system, it may be cheaper to rip out the old and install
new inside a plastic conduit that is insulated already. This can be done yourself, but local regulations will
probably mean you need to have it properly inspected during installation.
If the current system is in good condition then the options for insulation will depend on how thorough you want
to be and how much money is available. On this note, check with your plumbing wholesaler for possible subsidies
from your state or utility company.
There are several types of insulation, these are foam or fibreglass strip/wrap lagging and tube filled
insulation piping. The insulation wrap is relatively easy to apply even in confined spaces as you can do short or
long lengths as access dictates.
This needs to be duct taped to hold it in place and will last for 5 to 10 years with minimal maintenance, but
does need to be checked as animal activity or contact in exposed areas may dislodge sections.
Different types of foam are rated for their thermal insulation properties so check this before installing as
well. If you are wrapping pipes near gas hot water heaters it is recommended that fibre glass wrap at least 1 inch
thick be used and wire or aluminium tape to secure it instead of duct tape.
Don't get the wrap any closer than 6 inches from the flue and another tip is to wrap the cold inlet as well for
about 3 feet in cold climates. Tubular installation is more effective, less likely to be damaged, will last longer
without maintenance but is more exacting to install and expensive in the short term.
If you have lots of twists and turns in your plumbing system the difficulties are multiplied, and if they are
concealed in walls or behind other fittings, almost impossible.
The option here is to force an insulation material into the space and there are eco friendly filling materials
that can do this job. Check that they have fire retardant rating as some insurance policies will void claims if the
material is not rated for local regulations.
A further benefit of insulating hot water pipes is that you don't have to wait so long for the heated water to
arrive at your tap or shower.
This can save you wasting water as well when you turn on the faucet.
==> Did you know you could be taking luxurious hot showers GUILT FREE by using your own solar hot water system? Find out more:
So save money, water and energy just with a little effort!