7 Ways to Insulate Pipes

Pipes in a ceiling.

Insulating exposed pipes is an important step in getting your home prepared for the winter. Properly insulating pipes can prevent them from freezing and bursting, which can cost you hundreds of dollars in repairs. From spray foam to tubular sleeve covers, here are all of the ways in which you can insulate pipes and keep your home protected for when the cold weather hits.

1. Spray Foam

Spray foam insulation is usually what the pros use to insulate pipes. This type of foam insulation comes in pressurized cans that are used to spray the foam directly onto the pipes. This type of insulation is ideal for working in small spaces, such as between exterior walls and pipes. Spray foam is also good because it reduces vibrations, which cuts down on noise, and it is resistant to moisture.

2. Traditional Foam Insulation

Foam insulation.

Traditional foam is the most common way to insulate pipes. These foam rolls have a slit down the middle and attach to existing pipes with ease. The key with these foam rolls is to seal the open slits with tape once they are installed. This will help keep the product from slipping off the pipe and increases their insulating properties.

3. Self-sealing Foam

Self-sealing foam insulation is almost identical to its traditional foam counterparts. The only difference is that the self-sealing variety includes an adhesive over the slit. After you place the foam over the pipe, all you have to do is remove the tape and the slit opening will adhere together, eliminating the need for additional tape. That said, some people recommend taping the slit anyway as the adhesive can wear down over time.

4. Fiberglass Covers

Fiberglass covers are usually used in climates where the heat is extreme. Fiberglass is heat resistant and helps keep pipes from overheating. The fiberglass is wrapped about the pipes and attached securely with tape on both ends.

5. Faucet Covers

An outdoor faucet.

While most people do a good job of covering pipes, faucets are also susceptible to freezing in the winter, which can lead to burst pipes. This happens when water gets trapped in the faucet and is not allowed to drain. Luckily, you can insulate outdoor faucets with foam covers. These covers fit tightly over the faucets and help prevent spigots from freezing over. Some options also lock to prevent unwanted use of outdoor faucets.

6. Tubular Sleeve Covers

Tubular sleeves are similar to traditional foam insulation, only they come is longer runs. The typical sleeve is 6 feet in length and is made out of rubber or foam. This variety of insulation also features self-sealing options and can fit pipes as large as 1 inch in diameter. Installing tubular insulation is as easy as sliding it into place, much like traditional foam.

7. Pipe Gap Insulation

It is important to fully insulate all exterior pipes, but you should also insulate the gaps in the walls where the pipes pass through. Your home can lose a lot of heat through these gaps and closing them up is an important part of the winterizing process. You can fill these gaps with foam caulking or fiberglass insulation.