Bob Vila Radio: Pipe Insulation, and Why It Really Matters

Prevent winter's worst home disaster, freezing pipes, and promote household energy efficiency in the process, by remembering to insulate your water pipes.

By Bob Vila | Updated Feb 13, 2015 10:55 AM

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If a plumbing pipe ruptures inside your home, it’s likely going to be a disaster. But properly installed pipe insulation can help prevent that.

Pipe Insulation Matters


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Listen to BOB VILA ON PIPE INSULATION or read the text below:

Pipe insulation performs more than one role, but perhaps its most important duty is to keep the water in your pipes from turning to ice, expanding, and then bursting to create a mega-mess. Insulation also cuts down on heat loss and keeps water warm as it makes its way to your faucets.

Cold water pipes benefit from insulation too, especially during summer months when humid air would otherwise condense on the pipes and cause corrosion.

Besides protecting pipes, insulation also protects people—from being injured by contact with very hot or very cold pipes.

There are plenty of styles and materials to choose from, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. In many freeze-prone areas of the country, pipe insulation is not only a good idea; it’s the law. Check local building ordinances before you head to the home center.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.