Saving energy at home: How to insulate water pipes

This week, I planned to insulate my water pipes. Avista’s Expert Advice on Energy Efficient Homes recommends doing this to keep the hot water from cooling too quickly in the pipes. Much like most of the projects I complete, I scoured the internet for how to do this.

The guy at the hardware store said you can raise the water temperature by 2 to 4 degrees if you insulate, which means you can lower the temperature on your water heater. Insulated pipes also mean you don’t have to wait as long for the hot water to reach you once you turn on a faucet.

I learned that I should wear safety glasses and remove all the dirt from my pipes. There are different kinds of insulation: there is fiberglass pipe wrap you can buy if you have a lot of turns and bends in your pipes. Be sure wear gloves and not wrap it too tight around the pipe.

There are also tubular pipe sticks. They can come pre-slit with an adhesive along the cut to make installation easy. You’ll need to get some elbow or foam tees for bends. Measure your pipes and head to the hardware store.

Last weekend, I went down into my basement to measure my pipes for this project. It turns out that my water pipes are rubber hoses instead of pipes. Who would have thought a 111-year-old home would have rubber hoses instead of pipes? The guy at the hardware store said I don’t need to insulate rubber hoses and the heat loss is minimal. I looked them up online and I found that they can expand and contract, so I don’t have to worry about them freezing during the winter months.

While this seems to be pretty convenient, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have to complete this project. It looked like fun.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday.

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  1. At Home with Lisa
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