Time: 40 mins
Baby, it’s cold outside. You feel it, your dog feels it, and realize it or not, your pipes feel it too. Insulate your pipes to keep them from freezing and bursting. You’ll keep the heat in (psst…that means lower heating bills) and cold out. Win-win!
What's in it for you?
- Keep pipes from freezing
- Keep the heating bill down
- Keep pipes from bursting
Insulate Your Pipes to Prevent Freezing
Measure your pipes. Grab a measuring tape and measure the length and diameter of your pipes. Tack on a foot or two just in case — this is the amount of tubing you need to buy.
Get pipe insulation tubing. Head over to your local hardware store and pick up the length of pipe insulation tubing you measured in step 1. Opt for the black version of these pool-noodlesque tubes if you can. (The nitrile base means no shrinking, not even in the frigid outdoor air.)
While you’re at the store, get some gaffer tape. This pressure-sensitive tape is a must use if you opt for the tubing you cut and secure yourself. It's not a bad idea to use it on the tubing with the peel-and-seal self-adhesive strip either — seals can never be too airtight, after all.
Cut the insulation tubing. Does your pipe have a bend in it? Cut a piece of tubing so it matches the length of the pipe from the wall to the joint (plus a few inches). Rinse and repeat with all other sections of the pipe. (You’ll need to start a new piece of tubing every time there’s a joint.) Cut the ends of the tubing diagonally so they fit together like the corners of a picture frame. PSA: Don’t try to use one piece of tubing across a bend or joint — it'll make for poor insulation. Straight pipe? Cut the insulation tubing to match the length of the pipe and install.
Wrap insulation tubing around the pipes. If your tubing doesn’t already have a slit down the middle, cut a clean line down the length of the insulation tubing. Slip it over your pipes, making sure any ends fit together properly. Easy! If you have the peel-and-seal option, best to wait to peel until the insulation tubing is snug around the pipe.
Seal your insulation tubing. Grab your gaffer tape and cut it so it's as long as the diameter of the pipe. Wrap it around the now-insulated pipe at the end closest to the wall. Tape the rest of the tubing wherever there's a break — the slit, the corners, the other wall...you get the idea.
Pro Tip: Make extra-sure your outdoor pipes won’t freeze by wrapping them with an electric heat cable before installing insulation.