Insulating a house is one of the most important factors in keeping an energy efficient home. Whether it’s fiberglass, polystyrene or expanding foam between the joists and studs of a building, practically everybody has seen house insulation. However, there is another area of the home that can also benefit from insulation, and this area is the basement. Insulating water pipes in the basement is a simple and effective method to increase home efficiency and will pay you back in energy savings.
Insulating pipes with flexible sheet foam, like neoprene rolls or polyethylene for example, minimizes how much energy is conducted away from treated water by the metal pipes. Adding cushion rubber around pipes works for both hot water pipes that lose heat as well as cold water pipes for avoiding condensation. It’s particularly important when wrapping cold water pipes to not use fiberglass as it can absorb moisture. The aforementioned closed-cell foams are best for cold water pipes. Even something like a yoga mat cut into pieces can be an effective wrap material.
By reducing lost energy through pipes, heating and cooling systems require less energy to keep water at their specified temperatures. And the less home systems have to work, the less energy they need, while making the most out of the energy they do use.
The other reason insulating pipes is important is to protect against freezing in cold-weather climates. This is particularly important if pipes are located close to exterior walls and even more so if the exterior basement walls are unfinished. Insulating against the colder air can reduce the chance of freezing pipes. When a pipe freezes, it isn’t actually the ice that forms the break, but the pressurized buildup of water behind the blockage that causes a rupture. Protecting your pipes can prevent this from happening.
Considering the benefits of adding pipe insulation and the relative ease of installing it, it is one of the smartest DIY improvements you can make to your home.