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I live in Austin where it's about to get much colder than normal (single digits). Unfortunately the house in question (we're not currently living there) has no power at the moment. We just had the electrical panel replaced and the city won't turn the power back on until they inspect it probably a few weeks/months from now. We are in the process of covering up all the exposed pipes around the house to prevent them from freezing. Fortunately, the water heaters run on gas so we can still have hot water in the house.

Anyhoo, we have a water heater in an outside closet next to the pool. It was recently replaced and the plumbers insulated some of the pipes in there but not all of them (see pics below).

Do any of the exposed pipes need to be insulated? I have some foam tubing I can put around them if necessary. I did notice the the exhaust vent does get fairly warm when the water heater is on. Maybe that's enough to keep everything from freezing up?

I wasn’t sure if covering up the hot water lines would be bad for them.

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Defiantly cover all pipes. Several dollars worth of foam may prevent a big ,expensive problem , why even think about it ? I recently had a gas water heater replaced in the attic and just recovered some pipe that was involved in the work. Although it was short lengths close to the heater ,I did not want to wonder if they were close enough.

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  • I just wasn’t sure which pipes are the hot waters ones or if covering those would be bad.
    – d512
    Feb 14 at 2:29
  • Cover all ; the hot are only hot when water hot water is flowing., otherwise they can freeze. Feb 15 at 16:56
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As long as the water heater is burning fuel in the closet water in the pipes wont freeze. The heat going into the closet from the exhaust gas heating the flue will be sufficient to prevent any freezing.

It might be a good idea to wrap all the cold water pipes with a pipe wrap. Turning the thermostat a notch higher would keep it warmer.

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  • Which pipes are the cold ones though? Any of the uncovered ones on the pics I posted?
    – d512
    Feb 14 at 2:28
  • Most likely they are the uncovered pipes in the back ground. Touching them should feel cool.
    – ojait
    Feb 14 at 3:53

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