Insulation hacks: 'Easiest' methods to 'avoid' outdoor pipes freezing - and save money |

2023-01-09 21:35:02 By : Ms. Cindy Guo

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Frozen pipes can be a real nuisance for homeowners in winter, and they're not cheap to fix when the problem gets out of hand. While there are several ways to prevent your water pipes from becoming blocked with ice in the first place, insulation is by far the easiest and most effective solution. Not only does it reduce the risk of bursting, but also offers both money and energy-saving benefits.  Male Air Hose Fitting

Insulation hacks: 'Easiest' methods to 'avoid' outdoor pipes freezing - and save money |

It's easy to assume that external pipes are made to withstand the weather, but freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on plastic guttering.

An expert at Mr Rooter Plumbing said: "Any pipe in your home that is exposed and not well insulated, such as those in unheated spaces like exterior walls, garages, attics, basements, and the floor cavities above unheated crawl spaces, will also benefit from insulation.

"When water freezes inside a pipe, the ice expands and can cause the pipe to burst. The burst pipe can lead to fast and furious flooding on your property. If you’ve ever had a pipe burst during the frigid months, you understand why it’s imperative to avoid freezing pipes this and every winter.

"Insulating pipes lowers their exposure to the elements, reducing the chance of disaster while saving you money on energy costs by preventing hot water pipes from losing their heat."

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Unlike walls, floors and loft spaces, pipes are easy to insulate without professional help. No matter what kinds of pipes you're covering, you will need duct tape, expanding foam spray, foam caulk rope and your insulation of choice.

According to plumbing experts, foam pipe sleeves are "one of the easiest of all the insulation methods", best suited for longer, straight pipes that need some extra protection.

To install the foam sleeves, start by positioning them along the sides. Open the sleeve slit and cover the pipe to enclose it.

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Secure the sleeves by sealing the seam with an adhesive such as duct tap. Finish the insulation by cutting the sleeve to fit the length of the pipe.

When used on hot water pipes, foam pipe insulation helps to prevent heat loss by keeping the temperature of the water around two to four degrees higher than it would be uninsulated. This means that you require less energy to heat up your water, which saves you money.

For smaller lengths of pipe, wrap insulation is a better option, according to the Mr Rooter Plumbing expert.

They said: "It comes in various materials, including flexible foam with rubber backing tape, foam-and-foil pipe insulation tape, bubble-film pipe wrap, foil-backed natural cotton wrap, and rubber pipe insulation tape."

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Adding it to your exterior pipes is just as easy as foam sleeves. Start by attaching the loose end of the wrap on one end of the pipe to position it.

Next, wrap it around the plastic gutter in spiralling loops, making sure to cover the entire surface. Cut the end off once the wrap is in place. The backing tape will secure the insulation so you don't need extra adhesive to help it stay put.

The plumbing expert noted that no matter what type of pipe insulation you choose, you should always keep an eye on your pipes during the winter months.

They said: "If possible, stop the water flow to outdoor faucets and open the spigots to drain the pipes before the first hard freeze. If you can’t turn off the outdoor water supply, run your spigots occasionally through the winter to double-check and make sure the water pressure is normal."

It's not just pipes that need covering, in fact, water faucets for garden hoses are also at risk of freezing in very cold weather. Faucet covers can be used to protect them and can be ordered online for as little as £6.97.

To install a cover yourself, you will first need to detach the hose from the faucet and keep it in a safe spot for the winter. You won't be able to use the tap all the time the cover is on it.

Next, place the rubber loop around the small peg known as the spigot and position the cover. Tighten the slide lock to hold the cover in place and check for air gaps.

Lock the cover in place and leave your faucet for the winter.

Insulation hacks: 'Easiest' methods to 'avoid' outdoor pipes freezing - and save money |

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