Great Savings Tip #73 – Insulate Water Pipes


Save money, power and water by insulating your pipes.


Check Out Those Pipes


This post is part of our continuing Great Savings Tips series, designed to help find ways to spend less and save more.    Today’s tip: Insulate your water pipes.

What's in your crawlspace?

Have you been down to check your crawlspace?


Creepy Crawlies


73) Make sure your water pipes are insulated. Are your water pipes insulated?  Do you know?  Have you ever looked under your house?  In my last house, the crawl space was just tall enough for me to slide on my belly across the dirty plastic covering the ground.  Inevitably, I’d end up bumping my head or taking a wrong turn and getting wedged in some spot filled with spider webs.  It was never fun going “down under”, but it was worth the effort as I discovered several things that required my attention.


That house was in a suburb of Seattle.  Seattle winters are typically mild, often wet and sometimes downright nasty.  In a bad year, it’s not unusual to have snow—sometimes several inches that can last a week or more.  With the potential for chilly temperatures down below freezing, it pays to wrap your pipes in insulation.  Though you can hire this job out, it’s relatively straight forward to run over to Home Depot or Lowes, grab a number of pieces of foam pipe insulation, some wire or cable ties and do the job yourself.


Cover copper pipes with foam.

Slip the foam insulation over the pipes.

Saves Power and Water


I decided to insulate both hot and cold lines as I wasn’t just interested in saving energy—I also wanted to protect against the risk of a pipe freezing in the winter.  If you live in a warmer climate that might not be necessary, but warm or not you can reduce your energy costs by keeping the cooler air away from the hot water pipes.  According to, wrapping your pipes “reduces heat loss and can raise water temperature 2ºF–4ºF hotter than uninsulated pipes.”  This means you can turn your water heater down.  Plus, you “won’t have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on a faucet or showerhead, which helps conserve water.”  That can reduce your water bill.  For more specific instructions for installing insulation around pipes, check out their site.


Freeze Tips


Installing foam insulation.

Put foam seams down to allow any moisture to escape, then tie in place.

FYI: A broken pipe as a result of freezing temperatures can be an expensive, time-consuming repair.  If you are expecting extremely cold weather, try these tips:  (1) Open the cupboards under the faucets to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.  (2) Leave your faucets dripping a very small amount as any water movement makes it harder for ice to build up. (3) If you don’t have frost free hose bibs installed, be sure to wrap your outdoor faucets with insulation or if you don’t have that, use old socks or towels, wrap them up in a plastic bag, and run some tape or wire around it to hold it all in place. (4) Disconnect any hoses from faucets to prevent ice build up.


Worth The Effort


By the way, on my trip below the house, I also discovered loose and missing insulation on certain areas of the floor, and I discovered standing water in one corner of the foundation.  That turned out to be caused by a plugged downspout drain.  Bottom line:  It was worth taking my life in my hands and crawling in amongst the spiders.


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For a complete list of all our Great Savings Tips click here.



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