cold and Hot Water Pipe Insulation for energy improvements

Hot water lines insulation reduces heat loss and condensation.

Insulation should involve all the accessible pipes or at least, their first 5 feet (1,5 meter), measured from the water heater. Expect prices between $10 and $30 to insulate all your accessible lines.

Installation is a simple DIY job.

See: Home ducts sealing and insulation

Safety Warnings

Follow carefully the manufacturer's instructions. If you have a gas water heater do not insulate the part of the pipes close to the flue. Keep the sleeves or other insulation material at least 6 inches/16 cm away from it.


Before installing the insulation, remove dirt or grease from the pipes.

Pipe sleeves - typically made with polyethylene or neoprene foam - come in a wide variety of sizes and are a good choice.

Choose a pipe sleeve that is at least about 3/4 inch thick (US: R-4; Metric: 0.7). High quality sleeves are very common and, probably, the most effective choice for cold and hot water pipe insulation.

Pipe sleeves are easy to install and very effective. Just match the pipe sleeve's with the pipe's outside diameter for a snug fit. Use scissors or a knife to get a tight fit.

Before buying, measure the diameter of your pipes to determine if they are 3/4 inch or 1/2 inch piping. Plumbing lines are specified by their inside diameter.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Wraps and insulating tapes

Insulation wraps and tapes are also available, and they are also inexpensive and easy to install. Just tape the product around the pipes and joints and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

UL Underwriters Laboratories LogoWhen buying, look for top tapes; consider qualified Underwriters Laboratories (logo on left) tapes.

Fiberglass and Foam rubber insulation

Foam rubber insulation is another choice for pipe insulation. Just put it over the pipes and wrap the ends, securing them with duct tape. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Fiberglass blanket insulation is yet another alternative for cold and hot water pipe insulation. Wrap the fiberglass in plastic to prevent condensation. If pipes are very close to the flue, choose fiberglass pipe-wrap that are at least 1 inch thick (1,5 cm). Use wire or aluminum foil tape to secure the fiberglass to the pipe.




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