The Importance of Pipe Insulation
As a homeowner, pipe insulation is probably something you never think of. Even most home builders don’t think about it much either! Cutting back on pipework is one of the first places that dodgy contractors look to make savings to present customers with a better value bottom line. Proper pipe insulation is one of the most important parts of your house's structure; not only does insulation improve the performance and life of your plumbing, it also protects them against damage from extreme temperatures.
If you feel that your houses plumbing system is not properly insulated, you should consult a plumbing professional immediately. Here are some important things you should know about pipe insulation:
Keeping energy costs in check
Insulating pipes can lower your overall energy consumption. As utility bills rise, homeowners all over the land are paying more attention to how they use energy. Proper insulation around pipes limits heat transfer and provides a vapour barrier against moisture, which improves the thermal efficiency of your home and saves you money.
Freezing temperatures are a real problem with pipework. When the mercury drops, standing water left in pipes can expand and freeze, causing small cracks that may break open or burst. It is paramount that exposed pipes are properly insulated, especially in areas prone to very cold temperatures. The cost of additional insulation is small especially when you think about the cost of repairing damages caused by burst pipes.
Outdoor pipes should always be insulated, but even exposed pipes in your home can freeze if the temperature gets too low. Be sure to look over pipes in the basement, attic, crawl spaces, under sinks, in utility rooms or garages, and in the laundry room and insulate them. If you lose power during a storm or go on holiday during a cold snap, you could be forced to deal with the consequences of frozen or burst pipes.
A big problem with pipe insulation is keeping it dry. Traditional pipes insulation includes materials like minerals and fibreglass; these have been joined by flexible and rigid closed-cell glass products. Glass insulation provides a great barrier against moisture, helping pipes stay nice and dry. Contractors also use a wicking material that wraps around pipes to help absorb moisture and carry it away from the insulation jacket, where it evaporates. For pipes that are situated underground, most new insulation is made from polyurethane foam, which offers superb protection and limits moisture accumulation.
Poorly insulated pipes allow water to condense, which leaves pipes susceptible to standing water that can freeze in very wintry weather. This can cost you many hundreds of pounds in damage to walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture. Condensation can also speed the deterioration of pipes, causing erosion, leaks, cracks, and gaps. By adding a bit of extra insulation, you can eliminate the potential for water damage from burst pipes.
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