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Insulating Pipes: Is The Cost-Saving Worth the Effort?

Pipe insulation seems to be a hot topic. Home improvement celebrities on television, contractors with blogs, and articles on social media all point to insulation as a great way to increase the value of your home while saving energy and money. Do the costs and labor really add up to significant benefits?

That depends who you ask.

One of the primary factors that drive people to insulate pipes is money. Insulated pipes helps reduce the energy lost as water travels from the water heater to the shower/dishwasher/etc. In turn, you’re able to lower the temperature on your water-heating unit and save some money — without settling for cold showers. However, insulating your pipes may not allow you to turn down that thermostat as far as you might hope.

The True Savings Behind Pipe Insulation

You can reduce your cost by 3% – 5% for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit that you turn down the water heater. After insulation, the average family can turn the heater down by four degrees without noticing a difference in temperature at the tap, for a cost reduction of about 2%. When you factor in the average annual water-heating bill of $400 – $600, you’re looking at savings of about $8 – $12 per year. Sure, that number seems small, but insulation still saves energy and eventually will pay for itself, right?


The cost for a professional to insulate your pipes can range from $100 to $1,000. The true costs depend upon your geographic location and the scope of the job. Even if you have a relatively small job and your home is located where labor costs are reasonable, the least you will pay is about $100. It will take more than 10 years to get back that investment. The return on investment, however, is much more promising if you do the job yourself.

Insulation for pipes actually is quite inexpensive, as far as materials go. Many homes can be outfitted for approximately $10, which one year’s worth of energy savings when do the labor yourself. It can be uncomfortable to spend time in your home’s crawlspace, but the actual task of installing the insulation is quite simple: just wrap your pipes and secure with tape.

Avoid a Costly Accident With Proper Pipe Insulation

If you have your pipes professionally insulated, the energy savings may not add up to make it worthwhile, but the cost of avoiding an accident definitely can. Wrapped pipes are the first defense against frozen lines. If a pipe busts in the cold, you could be out thousands of dollars in home repair and wasted water costs. For homeowners in areas with winters that see temperatures below freezing, insulation is a necessity more than an option.

As with any home improvement decision, it’s important to do your research and find out the true cost for your specific project. Once you look at the numbers, you can determine what is right for you and your family. If you need help determining if insulating pipes is right for you, contact us today.