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DIY: How To Insulate Your Hot Water Pipes

A quick and easy way to save on heating costs and conserve energy is to insulate your hot water pipes. Follow our tutorial so you can complete this task yourself. 

Pipe insulation

Did you know your hot water pipes radiate a lot of heat that can add unnecessary heating costs to your energy bills? A great solution is to insulate your pipes to reduce heat loss and raise the temperature of the water by 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit. That means you won’t have to wait as long for your water to get hot, and you’ll be conserving water and energy while saving money. Insulating your hot water pipes is something you can do on your own. With the information and steps below, you can complete this DIY plumbing project in no time. 

Before you begin pipe insulation

  • Check your owner's manual for the required clearance from the water heater and its flue vent. Certain foams could emit toxic gases if they burn. 
  • Determine the type of insulation to use. For electric water heaters, pipe sleeves made with polyethylene or neoprene foam are the most commonly used. For gas heaters, the safest choice is fiberglass pipe wrap if your pipes are within 8 inches from the flue. 
  • Measure the diameter. Plumbing pipe is measured by its internal diameter (3/4 inch is common), but the actual outside diameter will be larger, depending on the material.
     

What you need:

  • Tape measure 
  • Pipe sleeves or strips of fiberglass pipe wrap from your hardware store 
  • Acrylic or duct tape or cable ties to secure the pipe sleeves or aluminum foil tape or wire to secure the fiberglass pipe wrap 
  • Gloves, long sleeves and pants if using fiberglass pipe wrap 
  • Scissors, box cutter or utility knife
     

Steps for insulating pipes:

  1. Measure. Starting at the water heater, measure all accessible hot water pipes to determine the lengths of insulation needed. Insulating the first 3 feet of pipe from the water heater is especially important. 
  2. Cut. Using a sharp tool, cut the pipe sleeve or fiberglass pipe wrap to the lengths needed. 
  3. Fit. Place your cut pieces of insulation along your pipe with the seam face down. 
  4. Secure. Tape, wire or use cable ties to clamp your lengths of insulation every foot or two. 

With your hot water pipes insulated, you should start seeing savings on your energy bills. Another great way to save is with an American Home Shield® Home Warranty, which helps protect your budget when certain home systems and appliances, like your hot water heater, break down. That’s something that will keep you warm at night. 

 Sources: 
http://energy.gov/energysaver/projects/savings-project-insulate-hot-water-pipes-energy-savings 
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2010/02/weekend-project-insulate-hot-water-pipes-to-cut-down-on-heat-loss/index.htm


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