Pipe insulation can be a confusing topic for homeowners: some see it as completely unnecessary, while some see it as a potential solution for almost every problem. But with a limited budget and a house full of pipes, you probably want to know if insulation is really worth it. Here are several instances where wrapping plumbing insulation around your pipes can make a real difference.
- Regular Freezing Temperatures: Do you live in an area that gets truly cold during the winter? Do you have a cabin or building at a higher elevation that sees a lot of snow every year? The problem here is freezing pipes: When pipes freeze with too much water inside, that water expands and can ruin valves or split pipes, causing widespread and expensive damage when water leaks out. Running water constantly through pipes can help mitigate this problem, but that's not always feasible. If your pipes are not already insulated, then wrapping them in insulation designed to prevent freezing can help prevent this type of dreaded damage. However, this should only apply to particularly cold areas. Ask a local plumber for more advice if necessary.
- Demanding Hot Water Use: There's a semi-myth about pipe insulation that says it can help heat up your water. It can't…but it can help preserve heat. Wrapping pipes close to your hot water heater in insulation can help conserve several degrees, especially if your hot water pipes pass through a cold basement. Therefore, it saves energy and helps lower your monthly bills. If your hot water heater isn't insulated or you find it difficult to get water as hot as you want it, think about adding insulation.
- Very High Humidity: If you have very high humidity levels - especially in crawlspaces or basements where your pipes are - then condensation is a danger. Water vapor condenses out of mid-air and forms on your colder pipes. High condensation eventually leads to dripping water and pools of moisture - which can cause wood rot, mold, pest problems, and other serious issues. If you notice that there's a lot of condensation on your colder pipes, insulation can help prevent moisture problems in the future.
- Pipes in Specific Areas: Insulation isn't just about controlling temperature - it can also provide important protection for your pipes in specific areas. For example, if you are burying pipes in the ground or in concrete you need pipe insulation to help protect those pipes from the elements. Generally, any underground pipe should have insulation.
- Noisy Pipes: If your pipes are rattling, banging, or moaning, call in a professional to take a look. It could be a problem with water hammers or poor installation methods that can be fixed. However, if there's not much that can be done about your noisy pipes (and they are seriously affecting your quality of life), consider pipe insulation to help dampen the sound.
For answers to your questions about pipe insulation and if it is right for you, contact the Pink Plumber today!