Whether its been a long cold day and you need just need a hot shower to relax or if you just hate waiting for the water to run hot in your faucets there is a simple inexpensive way to reduce water and fuel use for heating hot water and improve the quality of your services.
Insulating Hot Water lines has been a necessity for a long time in homes that have an unheated crawl space but even if you have a fully heated basement you can benefit from a couple hours work installing pipe insulation and reducing heat loss from your pipes.
The temperature in your hot water heater should be set between 120F and 140F this gives you the benefit of clean water while not being so hot it will scald you.
Since average room temperature is between 70F and 80F water sitting in your pipes can fall well below comfortable even if you are only using the hot water setting on your faucet.
Now before you start this project you should understand that insulation whether it is in your attic, walls, or surrounding the food in your refrigerator will only reduce the time that it takes for heat transfer to happen. So insulating your pipes won’t keep water warm overnight but it may keep it warm for a couple hours.
Insulating your pipes is a simple project all you will need is a pair of scissors and maybe some tape if the type you buy isn’t self taping.
Polyethylene pipe covering comes in 8 foot lengths or in rolls and can be used with any type of hot water line.
Closed cell insulation is better then open cell because it will sweat less due to condensation. It is also a good product for HVAC air conditioner lines to reduce condensation.
You will will need the diameter of your pipe you are insulating when you purchase it. Half and 3/4 inch are the most common sizes.
If you are installing insulation on pipe that goes through studs then cut it to length the best you can.
Once you have the foam insulation cut to size and installed on the pipe remove the tape cover to stick the pipe together. If your pipe insulation did not come with self stick tape then use duct tape.
Insulating pipe that is in exterior walls can be difficult or impossible if the room is not heated. This is often true in unheated garages. If you have water supply lines in the exterior wall of an unheated garage it is important to drain them when outdoor temperatures fall below 40F or you risk having them burst. If they are a necessity then it is best to use a metallic pipe copper at minimum but galvanized steel would be better and use an electric pipe heater to keep the pipe warm.
Insulating your hot water supply lines should keep the water in the line warm for a longer time between uses. It may also allow you to reduce your water heater temperature saving you fuel costs.
The time to complete the project should be under 2 hours for a normal sized home. You may also want to insulate your water heater with a blanket at the same time.
If you are insulating pipe in an unheated crawlspace then back up the foam insulation by adding fiberglass batt insulation around the pipe.
The YouRepair Store sells a full line of insulation products.
Most orders over $25 can ship for free.