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Learn about Hot Water Pipe Insulation

Hot Water Pipe Insulation

Hot water pipe insulation is typically made of foam or rubber and wraps around pipes supplying domestic hot water to your faucets, clothes washer, dishwasher and showerhead.

Not all pipe insulation is made the same; there are various types of foam and rubber insulation with R-values of between 2.9 and 3.3.

Proper installation is also important; a tight fit around the pipe is important to reduce heat loss by convection between the insulation and the pipe. Some types of insulation can come with or without a sticky seal to secure the insulation around the pipe.

Also be aware of the temperature limitations of pipe insulation; most types can handle temperatures of up to about 82 to 98 degrees Celsius and while this temperature is much higher than the typical domestic hot water setpoint (~55 degrees Celsius), hot water baseboard or radiant systems can see higher temperatures. If you want to insulate these types of pipes, be sure to check the product specifications for the temperature range and compare to your boiler setpoint. For these applications, commercial grade fiberglass pipe insulation may be better suited.

Pipe insulation maintains the temperature of water in hot water pipes so that you won't have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on a showerhead or faucet, reducing the amount of water consumed.

Pipe insulation for commercial and industrial applications is made from a much wider range of materials such as fiberglass, cellular glass and mineral wool, capable of handling temperatures of up to 650 degrees Celsius!