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Water Pipe Insulation: Is It Worth It in Your Home?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Today’s green movement has many homeowners asking, “Is water pipe insulation worth the trouble?” The short answer is yes. Insulated water pipes increase energy efficiency, lowering your energy use and reducing energy bills. Reducing your carbon footprint by using less energy is a step in the right direction for green living. In fact, according to the folks over at energy.gov, insulated water pipes delivers water to your fixtures between 2 and 4 degrees hotter than uninsulated pipes.

The obvious benefits are hotter water and reduced energy use and costs. Benefits that are less obvious include shorter periods waiting for the hot water to reach your shower, which results in less water being washed down the drain. Therefore, not only does water pipe insulation conserve energy but also helps to conserve one of our most precious natural resources: water.

Another hidden benefit of water pipe insulation involves the cold water supply lines. People living in regions subjected to freezing temperatures can probably figure this one out on their own. Insulating both your hot and cold water pipes is paramount to avoid burst pipes during the winter months, especially pipes that are exposed to the freezing temperatures. A burst water pipe can cause untold water damage to your home — damage that will have you kicking yourself if you could have avoided it by simply protecting your pipes from the freezing temperatures.

The cost of water pipe insulation materials is, for the most part, inexpensive. Neoprene and polyethylene foam pipe sleeves are the easiest and most common material used for water pipe insulation. The materials are sold at most home improvement centers as well as local hardware stores and plumbing supply houses. While the materials may be inexpensive, installing them can be quite labor intensive, so it’s recommended that you call a professional plumber. Accessing your water pipes usually requires entering confined areas of your home such as crawl spaces, basements and attics. Unless you are building a new house, you will not have access to all of the applicable water supply lines as some of them are sure to be enclosed in walls. For these, a good rule of thumb to follow is that whenever you open up a wall and have access to your water supply lines such as during a bathroom or kitchen renovation, you insist that your plumbing contractor insulate the water supply pipes, both hot and cold, while they are exposed.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Plumbing Upgrades: When Are They Necessary?

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

A home’s plumbing system is designed to offer years, if not decades, of uninterrupted use. Unfortunately, as with most things, your plumbing system and its related fixtures will eventually age and become inefficient. When you should consider plumbing upgrades depends on a wide set of circumstances, some obvious and some not. Listed below are examples of plumbing systems and their components that would benefit from plumbing upgrades.

Galvanized Pipes

Galvanized pipes, used for both water supply and drainage, were common throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s. If your home still uses a galvanized system today, it is probably time to consider replacement. Galvanized pipes deteriorate with age, not only developing leaks but also rust and scale obstructions. This buildup can drastically reduce water flow and drainage as well as contaminates that can pollute your fresh water supply.

Leaking Pipes or Fixtures

Plumbing leaks are a common occurrence faced by homeowners from time to time. Weather, age and other maladies can cause them to leak. However, when your home is continually developing leaks, it might be time to hire a professional plumber to investigate the cause. Whether the leaks are from age or poor installation, ignoring them could lead to severe damage throughout your home.

Slow or Obstructed Drain Lines

Your sewer line is an integral part of your home’s plumbing system. A slow draining sewer line is more susceptible to obstructions, which can lead to wastewater backing up into your home. Tree roots, age and collapse are all leading causes of sewer line failure. Avoid the additional expense of unnecessary home repairs by maintaining or replacing your dated sewer line.

Outdated Toilets

Old toilets, although they may still get the job done, could be costing you. New federal plumbing standards require that a toilet use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. When you consider older toilets can use between 3.5 and 7 gallons per flush, it does not take a rocket scientist to see how much valuable water and money they waste.

Outdated Water Heaters

A water heater is one of a plumbing system’s silent workhorses. Throughout the day and night, this reliable appliance provides a home with a steady supply of hot water. Unfortunately, older models do not utilize the newer technologies of today. High-efficiency tank and tankless water heaters use far less energy than their predecessors do. Some models are so efficient, they pay for themselves in savings in just a couple of years.

While the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may still apply to several circumstances today, your home’s plumbing system is definitely not one of them. Avoiding plumbing upgrades today could cost you thousands in additional repairs costs in the future. For answers to your questions, or if you’re still unsure if you need plumbing upgrades, contact the Pink Plumber today.

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