We regularly see freezing temperatures, and many homeowners are worried about frozen pipes. If your pipes freeze, they can cause serious damage, including flooding and structural damage to your home. This type of damage can take months to restore. Consequently, our customers often ask us what they can do to prevent frozen pipes, and many specifically ask us about insulating their plumbing system. When properly installed, pipe insulation helps protect pipes from the cold, helping prevent them from freezing, breaking, or bursting.
Do All My Pipes Need to Be Insulated?
While insulating your plumbing is an important step in protecting your pipes from freezing and bursting, not all your pipes need to be insulated to achieve this protection. Specifically, pipes that run along the exterior of your home are the most vulnerable to freezing, and these must be insulated. Similarly, it is also important that pipes that run through unheated areas of your house are also properly insulated. For example, pipes that run under your home or through attics and crawlspaces.
It’s also important to remember that you must insulate both hot and cold-water pipes as both may be susceptible to freezing and bursting. Though hot-water lines are less likely to freeze than cold-water lines, they are not impervious to the cold, and a sudden dip in temperatures can cause serious problems.
The pipes that run inside your home are less likely to freeze and burst because they benefit from the warmer temperatures in your home and are unlikely ever to come close to freezing temperatures.
Other Benefits to Insulating Your Plumbing
Pipe insulation can also help you save money on energy costs. When the hot-water pipes running out of your water heater are insulated, they suffer less heat loss, which helps your water heater run more efficiently. Similarly, insulting your cold-water pipes can help reduce pipe sweating and condensation. Finally, insulating your pipes protects them from external damage in general and can help extend the life of your plumbing system.
Do I Need a Plumber to Install Pipe Insulation?
Many people can install their own pipe insulation by purchasing easy-to-install insulation sleeves at their local hardware store. However, if you need to work on more than a small section, or you need to insulate hard-to-reach piping, it is best to work with an experienced plumber like ours at Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Our plumbers can help you select what type of insulation will be best suited for your situation, and we can expertly install it for you.