How to Insulate Copper Pipes

Copper pipes are found in almost all structures supplied with water. Copper is a preferred metal because it has elements that are ideal for pipe work: it is abundant, it is easy to work with and it is resistant to corrosion. That said, copper is also a heat conductor. What this means is that cold air can cool down the water in the pipes so quick and hot water warms the air around it. In order to keep hot water hot and prevent cold water from freezing, insulation needs to be installed over the pipes.

The US Department of Energy has also said that insulated hot water pipes increase water temperature by four degrees. As such, you can reduce the hot water tank temperature and save energy in the process. You can insulate your copper pipes with a material called neoprene pipe insulation wrap. It’s a prefabricated insulation material which is slitted on one side and has a self-sealing adhesive seam that can secure the slits together. Here’s a guide on how to insulate copper pipes.

What You’ll Need

  • vernier calipers (a measuring instrument that has a set of jaws meant to slide along a ruler)
  • tape measure
  • sharp knife
  • self-adhesive tape

Steps to Follow:

1. Find out the pipe insulation size needed for your pipes. You do this by measuring the circumference of the copper pipes by wrapping measuring tape around them.

2. Determine the length of the pipe section to be insulated. Use a utility knife to cut the insulation. You can use a sharp blade to prevent burrs or jagged edges as you cut.

3. Slide the insulation wrap into the pipe. This is done by opening the slitted end of the wrap. You then use your hands to compress the insulation around the pipe to make sure it’s a tight fit.

4. Take off the adhesive tape strip. After that, press in order to seal the two slits together.

5. Add another section of insulation wrap. Use duct tape to seal the seam between two insulation wraps. After that, press the tape firmly to make sure it is sealed tightly. Repeat this step until you’ve got your pipes insulated.

Additional Tips

  • Purchase special insulation wraps for unusual pipe connections, such as y-joints, t-joints and valve connections. Pipe insulation manufacturers already make these and you can get them at any home improvement center.
  • Insulate cold water supply pipes even though it is not necessary. Why is that the case? Doing this protects these pipes from condensation which can form on pipes when the weather is warm.
  • Coat foam insulation with moisture-resistant latex paint because this kind of insulation can deteriorate when exposed to sunlight or moisture.
  • Don’t insulate pipes that are located within six inches of a hot water heater tank. This helps prevent the risk of fire.

Insulating your pipes isn’t just one way to guarantee that hot water stays hot or cold water doesn’t freeze. It’s also a way to ensure you’re saving energy, which is something all homeowners want.

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