Does wrapping pipes do any good?

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I've never understood this. Keeping it out of the wind isn't going to keep it warmer. This goes back to that engineering 101 thing where wind chill wont cool something cooler than ambient air temp.
 
Yes but I'm a human. A pipe isn't going to create it's own heat.
 
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Just remember that if the pipe freezes with insulation on it, the icey pipe is insulated and will take longer to thaw. Pipe insulation may slow down freezing but just try to keep the area above 32. And seal areas where wind can get in.
 
Wrapping pipes is typically done for insulation from freezing or in my basement helps with heat loss, I wil flip the question back, does insulation in your home help?
 
I was required to cover the exposed plumbing in my garage, by the local building inspector. Apparently there's something to it.
 
The pipe and its contents are connected to warmer areas: the ground, your house, the water heater etc. the insulation keeps the heat loss down within the pipe from these areas and yes, can prevent freezing.
 
If you have a problem with freezing pipes, then wrap the pipe with heat tape and then cover that with pipe insulation. That will protect the pipe down to below zero.
 
Wind chill refers to loss of heat over time, not final temperature. So, yes, insulation will lower the chilling factor, wind or not.
 
Originally Posted By: madRiver
Wrapping pipes is typically done for insulation from freezing or in my basement helps with heat loss, I wil flip the question back, does insulation in your home help?
yes, before we wrapped the hot waterlines in the basement, it would take what felt like minutes to get hot water to the kitchen sink, or the master bath(opposite ends of the house, heater in the middle) now, it can still take 30 seconds, but... it's much... faster....
 
Originally Posted By: tig1
If you have a problem with freezing pipes, then wrap the pipe with heat tape and then cover that with pipe insulation. That will protect the pipe down to below zero.
It is a "problem" here once every 2-3 years. Houston will be below freezing for almost 36 hours starting tomorrow morning, which is a long time here. Most homes here have water service coming up out of the ground and entering the house on the outside of the house. There is usually a 2-3 foot section of pipe that has no insulation at all, just a bare metal pipe. Insulating the pipe allows the pipe to hold the heat within it better, increasing the amount of time it takes it to freeze. Same reason some leave a faucet dripping, keeps "warmer" water flowing through the pipe, reducing the chance of freezing. Me personally, I have foam insulation around outside exposed pipes for most cold nights, then when it is really cold (like the next 2 days) I take a shop light (an old school incandescent, not LED) and hang it from the spigot, wrap a towel around it, and cover it with a box. Temp stays in the mid 50's in there (have a remote thermometer I stuck in it last time) even in the mid 20's. When I was a kid, my dad would turn the water off then drain all the pipes that run in the attic.
 
I know someone that protects their incoming water line in their 32 ft camper they live in year round here in Illinois. The heat tape-pipe insulation deal works great for them. We have had several nights this winter well below 0 F with no problems with pipe freeze up.
 
If for example its a baseboard heating pipe going through an unheated crawl space, then wrapping the pipe will prevent heat loss and the hot water will arrive hotter at the baseboard.
 
Yes it works. Metal pipes conduct heat. Keep the inside pipes un-insulated so the heat, such as it is, can travel down the line. If you've never had a pipe freeze, guess what? It happens in the corners when an icicle dead-ends and dams things up.
 
My brother had a outside hose bibb that froze in a quick cold snap. The plumbers had tapped that pipe for his refrigerator water and ice. The freeze migrated and split the poly pipe inside causing a flood in the kitchen. He had to replace the kitchen flooring including the subfloor. Insulation is a necessity in most part of the country. As Tig has mentioned, heat tape is a good option in certain locations. Cheaper than the repairs.
 
Originally Posted By: blupupher
Insulating the pipe allows the pipe to hold the heat within it better, increasing the amount of time it takes it to freeze.
That is all it does - buys you some time. Frequent use flushes out the coldest water with warmer water. But......Given enough time with no use, the temperatures must reach equilibrium. Time's up.
 
Originally Posted By: motor_oil_madman
I've never understood this. Keeping it out of the wind isn't going to keep it warmer. This goes back to that engineering 101 thing where wind chill wont cool something cooler than ambient air temp.
Insulation of course provides...insulation. A thermal barrier that reduces the rate of heat transfer to/from the environment, so therefore by definition works (does good). It doesn't make the heat transfer zero, it can't nothing will, so the posters who say it buys you time are correct. But if you only go sub freezing overnight, it works great (does good). If the pipe is under about 1/4", then the extra surface area that the insulation provides can actually worsen the freezing.
 
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