Winter is fast coming, and for those of us living in colder climates, it may be an uncomfortable time of year. We are cold outside and have to deal with issues relating to the cold inside. One of those ways that we have to deal with the cold inside is with our hot water. This is one of the least addressed methods for saving money due to heat loss, specifically, the hot water pipes moving water to the various sinks throughout the home. You can save money, and relatively inexpensively too, by doing one task – Wrap Your Pipes.
If your basement is unfinished (and this is the best time to do this task), you can wrap your hot water pipes using various products on the market. vortexgravitybong This is such an easy, inexpensive method for retaining the heat in the hot water sitting in the pipes, that it could be considered low-hanging fruit.
Use ordinary fibreglass insulation to wrap around the pipes – be sure to seal the material so that glass fibres don’t end up floating through the air
More labour intensive due to manual manipulation of product
Fibreglass can be used in other areas
Use heat tape which has electricity running through it (best for colder areas)
Easy to install
Based on product, can be used on both plastic and copper pipes
Foam insulation specifically designed for pipes
Easy to install
Added benefit of reducing plumbing noises (pipe expansion and contraction)
You can generally obtain these materials at any hardware store. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s installation instructions as there may be specific directions depending on the hot water source, such as electric versus gas water heater.
If your home is completely finished and there is no access to the pipes you will have to wait until a renovation job comes along (or use this as a good reason to start one!). When renovating the bathroom, insulate the pipes before installing the cabinet or shower fixtures. When the time comes to redo the basement be sure to insulate the pipes. If the pipes run through the garage make sure they are insulated. This is a good place to use the electrical pipe wrap.
While waiting for the hot water to arrive at the sink, the water that is draining is costing money as well. Local municipalities charge sewage charges – this is the cost of the water going down the drain. The cost of the water along with the disposal of that water is added together to form the water charges. So while you are waiting for hot water you are being charged for the disposal of the water.
The cost of the materials to wrap your pipes is minimal but the comfort received from warm water along with the water savings, should more than offset the cost of the materials.