Insulating your home’s duct work and hot water pipes is an easy and efficient way to reduce your home energy bills. What follows are general instructions on how to insulate your home’s ducts and pipes.
To complete this project you will need to assemble the following materials;
• Rolls of duct tape
• Blanket insulation
• Pipe insulation sleeves
• Spongy insulation tape
• Staple gun and staples
• Utility knife
• Fine-bladed Hacksaw
Begin by examining the home’s duct work. If it has not been done already you will want to seal the duct work joints securely with duct tape.
After the duct work joints have been sealed it is time to wrap the hot water pipes with insulated sleeves. Insulated sleeves come in a variety of colors with installation slits already in them.
To fit the sleeves over your home’s pipes you will need to measure length of the pipes to be insulated and then cut the pre-made insulation sleeve with either a fine-bladed hacksaw or sharp utility knife to match the pipe’s length.
At that point, installation of an insulated sleeve is quite simple. Take the side of the insulated sleeve that has the slit onto it and gently press it onto the pipe. The pipe should then slide into the sleeve.
When you reach a pipe junction take out the spongy insulation tape. Make sure the pipe joint is clean and dry. Then execute a dry run first by wrapping the pipe joint with the tape without removing the tape’s sticky backing.
Once you are satisfied that you have the right amount of insulation tape, remove the tape’s sticky backing. Carefully wrap the pipe with the tape sticky side down so that the tape adheres to the pipe.
That is all there is to insulating the hot water pipes. There is generally no benefit to insulating cold water pipes unless you are looking to eliminate pipe sweating and dripping. In such cases insulating cold water pipes is an acceptable practice.
With your pipes insulated and your duct joints taped, it is now time to turn insulating the ducts. Where the ducts are exposed and running between the joists you will need to install blanket insulation. Simply wrap the duct with the blanket insulation (vapor barrier facing out) and staple the ends of the insulation onto the wood surface next to the duct.
For duct work that is not running between the joists you will need to take the blanket insulation and wrap the duct around all four sides. It is imperative to note that the insulation’s vapor barrier should always be facing out.
When you reach the end of a duct, be sure to extend the insulation past the end stop and then use your utility knife to fashion a flap. Fold the flap up over the end piece of the duct and then seal the seams shut with the duct tape. Remember, the goal here is to completely cover the duct so do not forget and leave the ends exposed!
Once all your pipes and duct work have been insulated your project is complete and you can sit back and start enjoying the savings.
Those that are insulating the ducts and pipes that run through an unfinished basement may want to consider purchasing a space heater for the basement as well as insulating the basement floor and walls later down the road.
This should be considered because now that the duct work is insulated whatever warm air had been escaping from them and thereby heating the unfinished basement will now be gone. Thus your basement may end up getting colder than you had ever expected.
Homeowners who have questions and want more information about weatherization and insulation should consult with their local home improvement specialist or a licensed professional.