Do you have exposed piping in your basement? Are those pipes insulated? Insulating your plumbing is important for many reasons. Here, you'll find out what the insulation does and what to wrap.
Why do you insulate interior piping?
You might not think that the piping in your basement needs to be insulated because it isn't exposed to freezing temperatures. Well, the truth is, you never know – you never know when you could lose power during a cold-stent and the temperature in the basement drops quickly to freezing and your pipes begin to freeze.
So, that might not happen often, but there are other reasons:
- Insulation helps the water to maintain the temperature throughout the pipes. Hot water stays hotter from the hot water heater to the faucet.
- Insulation helps to reduce the condensation that forms on pipes when humidity levels are high.
- Insulation will protect the pipes that run along the walls from absorbing the cold and freezing.
What types of insulation do you have to choose from?
There are four basic types of piping insulation for you to choose from.
- Rubber – with or without adhesive
- Foam – pre-slit and easy to install
- Fiberglass – takes some time to get done, but it is very effective in protecting piping from cold temperatures
- Foil and foam – easy to install and effective
Does anything else need to be insulated?
Absolutely – your hot water tank should be covered with a tank blanket. These blankets are insulated and wrap snugly around your hot water tank and help to keep the heat inside the tank. The blankets are fairly cheap and can be put on in just minutes.
Another element to consider insulating is the pressure tank. Pressure tanks typically aren't a concern for freezing, but during the warm summer months, they can sweat a lot and increase the moisture levels in your home tremendously. Hot water tank wraps can be used on the pressure tank. Once it's wrapped, the cool water temperature inside will not meet the warmer external temperature and coat the tank with moisture.
The plumbing underneath your kitchen and bathroom cabinets should also be insulated. It's easy to forget about these spaces since they're not seen often, but they are the most likely lines to freeze since they aren't exposed to heat.
Talk with local plumbing contractors about what you can do to protect your pipes from freezing this year and sweating next. He or she will guide you through what needs to be done to prevent these issues from occurring.