What Pipes in Your Home Are Often Insulated and Why?

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

What Pipes in Your Home Are Often Insulated
Insulating pipes improves the lifespan of the pipes and plumbing in your home.

Why Some Pipes Are Insulated and Some Are Not

Many homes have some, but not all, of their water pipes insulated. Some people don’t even think about it. If they do, they might think only pipes that are likely to freeze during winter weather, which is pretty unlikely in the Carolinas, should be insulated.

You can and should insulate all of your pipes, whether interior or exterior, hot water or cold. Here are some reasons, including preventing frozen pipes, insulated pipes make sense.

So Pipes Don’t Freeze

You might think this is the only reason for insulating water pipes and lines, and you really don’t need to do this unless you live in colder regions. It is a good idea for everyone in all climates and winter temperatures.

Starting with the basics, in areas with freezing temperatures for much of the winter, not insulating pipes can lead to a major problem and multiple issues for a home and your water supply. Among the greatest problems is pipe freezing due to the fact that frozen pipes can crack, leak and burst. Now you’re looking at major repairs or replacement work. A burst pipe can flood a home, creating major damage and expenses. Occasionally, freezing can cause the splitting of all pipes, then once the temperature begins increasing, it can result in leakage, so every one of them needs to be changed.

Proper insulation can prevent freezing, so once you do that, you don’t need to stress over cold winter months since it will be virtually impossible for your pipes to ice up and break. That can save energy, and on your utility bills, plus save money avoiding major repairs or worse.

For those who live in areas where winter is rarely or never a problem, you probably still could have issues with the summer heat and your water pipes. In this case, insulating them still benefits you by cooling the water temperature. It’s good to consider insulating exterior pipes no matter the climate your home’s in.

The Lifespan of Your Plumbing

This is one reason individuals often ignore or don’t consider. Even when you pay for top-quality pipes and components, it’s still best to insulate pipes. Installing quality pipes will likely save you from needing to fix, repair or replace them should they freeze. You can still improve their efficiency and lengthen their lifespan with insulation. Despite the quality of the product pipelines is made from, they are not fully heat resistant. When the temperature is changing, in either direction, pipes contract or expand. Insulation can control changing and shifting due to temperature changes. This helps the durability of pipes and plumbing parts.

What Pipes in Your Home Are Often Insulated
You can and should insulate all of your pipes, whether interior or exterior, hot water or cold.

Stop Pests and Bugs

You may know leaks and dripping faucets can attract pests, but did you know pipes can provide a water source for animals, including bugs?  Cold water pipes may produce condensation on their external surface areas where the warmer air of your residence touches the pipe. Tiny insects such as silverfish and roaches can live on a water source as small as a few drops. So, to prevent providing them an easy way to live inside your wall, under a sink, at a spigot, or on other surfaces of your house, think about insulating all the cold water pipes. This builds a barrier between the cool piping and warmer air temperatures, reducing the condensation and the likelihood of bugs and animals finding a small amount of excess water.

Minimize Moisture Issues

It may not seem as though a pipe giving off condensation is enough to create a moisture issue. After all, it’s just water that was in the air as humidity anyway, and it’s just a little bit of water. Nonetheless, like condensation on uninsulated windows, moisture on the outside of a pipe can lead to multiple problems.

The condensation can trickle or puddle onto important surfaces or products such as drywall, wood, or home insulation. When these products are wet, they may rot, grow mold or deteriorate faster than they should. This can lead to a bigger problem in a home’s structure or other systems, such as HVAC. Mold and rot can attract termites. They might be contaminants to your home’s air and therefore be a health hazard.

If you have cold water pipes in your wall surfaces, you might avoid these possible issues by adding insulation.

Better Energy Usage

Even with winters that usually aren’t too bad, it can still make sense to add insulation around hot water pipes. Even if pipes aren’t in danger of freezing, in cold weather the water heater has to use more fuel to heat water to the level you want. The water left in pipes between being used cools. Insulating pipes enables the water to remain warm longer.

For most of the year, when your air conditioning is running, here’s another thought. If the pipes run inside your house, hot water can give off residual heat throughout the house. Yes, it’s minimal, but it still taxes your air conditioning. So insulating water pipes will give the cooling part of your HVAC system and energy bill some help.

Comfort for Your Family

The more distance between the water heater and the bathroom, the more heat loss there is along the way. If you like to take hot showers, this can be a reoccurring issue. Your answer may be to turn up the water heater’s temperature. Instead of doing this, changing the water temperature for other rooms or fixtures in the house, and using substantially more energy, proper insulation will solve the heat loss.

Pipe insulation generally isn’t a major expense for the products. You can also choose to have the work done by a professional so you know it’s done right and it’s not taking up your time.

South End Plumbing specializes in leak repairs and video drain inspections, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in leak detection – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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