So, my pipes froze in my house today, and it made me realize that I should better insulate them for the rare days that it gets in the teens here... What should I do to insulate them?
Something like this foam pipe insulation should do the job:
Source - UK site, but you should be able to source this in the States.
It's split down the length so you can wrap it round existing pipes. It's flexible and easily cut so you can do corners and bends too. You might need to tape it a regular intervals to keep the insulation in place if there's not a lot of room between the pipes and any walls/beams.
I use foam insulation like that and it should be noted that you need to make sure water cant seep in. If you have a path for water to get in, you have a nice conductive path for heat to get out. The insulation is still better than none at all but if it is cold enough and wet enough it can still be a pain. Feb 3, 2011 at 16:01
Silly question, but for pipes that are bracketed to the wall, how do you keep them on? Duct tape? Glue? Jan 25, 2016 at 13:11
@SeanDuggan Not sure what you mean, but you can cut the insulation to the distance between the brackets. Or do you mean that there's little/no gap between the pipe and the wall?– ChrisF ♦Jan 25, 2016 at 13:14
A little bit of both. I tried just sliding it over as best I could, but it keeps popping back off. Jan 25, 2016 at 13:25
As well as straight lengths of pipe insulation, you can also get insulated pipe wrap, which may be easier or harder to use in some situations. one advantage is that it can be used to wrap multiple (same temperature) pipes at the same time.
If the pipes are not inside of walls, like in an unfinished basement, one option is to use wrap-on pipe heating cables. They're a bit like an extension cord that you wrap around a pipe and plugin. It radiates. It can have a thermostat to turn on at a certain temp.
Some of them have a little light on them so you can tell at a glance that they're on, which is quite reassuring. Feb 3, 2011 at 20:16
...right up until the power goes out. I'd save that as a last resort if passive methods aren't good enough. Feb 3, 2011 at 21:23