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Most homeowners never think about pipe insulation. Unfortunately, some homebuilders do not give it the attention it deserves either. To skimp on spending money, some questionable contractors do not adequately insulate pipes. However, insulating pipes is an essential part of a home’s infrastructure.

What Types of Materials Are Used To Insulate Pipes?

The industry standard for insulating pipes is to use a polyurethane-based insulation, a rigid or flexible foam, cellular glass, aerogel, or calcium silicate. There are so many materials used because pipes can be installed in several different applications and may carry a wide variety of fluids. The goal is to have a material ready for any challenge mechanical contractors or building owners may face.

In some circumstances, insulation manufacturers will create hybrid insulation that combines several of the materials mentioned above. This makes the insulation useful in several thermal insulation applications. The insulation can maintain stability over a wide range of temperatures. For example, Trymer 2000 XP polyisocyanurate insulation can withstand temperatures from -297°F up to 300°F.

Newer forms of insulation have been created to be environmentally sustainable. Earthwool 1000 Pipe Insulation, for example, is made from inorganic glass fibers. This insulation does not have formaldehyde and is mold resistant. It can withstand temperatures ranging from 0° to 1000°F.

Ways to Save Energy during the Year

Insulating the pipes in your home can help save energy. Another step you can take during the winter is to take advantage of the natural heat provided by the sun. This can be accomplished by opening curtains that face south during the day. This will allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Close the curtains again at night to reduce chill.

During waking hours, set your thermostat as low as you are comfortable with. While you are asleep, lower your thermostat by 10° to 15°F. This can save you 10 percent on your heating bill. A smart thermometer can make this easier. 

A fireplace is a comfortable and attractive way to heat the home. However, if you are not burning a fire, keep the damper closed, otherwise warm air from your home will escape through the chimney. If you use your fireplace frequently, consider installing a shell of tempered glass and a heat exchange system that will blow warm air back into your home.

During the summer months, save energy by blocking out the sun. It can look nice having the sun beam through your windows. However, it will cause you to use more energy as your air-conditioning system fights to combat the heat from the sun.

Use ceiling fans. A ceiling fan allows you to increase the temperature of your thermostat by four degrees without feeling any change in comfort. Remember that your ceiling fans should turn counterclockwise. Don’t leave your fans running if the room is empty.

Green Building Materials to Consider for Environmentally Friendly Living

Besides insulating your pipes and minimizing energy use during the summer and winter months, you can construct your home with green building materials. This will allow you to build an energy efficient structure that contributes to energy savings. 

  •     In warmer climates, earthen materials like adobe, rammed earth, and cob provide a solid structure and promote a comfortable climate.
  •     Engineered wood is made from scrap wood, softwood, and wood fibers. It provides the strength and stability of wood without the waste that comes from using raw timber.
  •     Bamboo is a multipurpose building material. It is durable and grows quick, so it’s easily replenished. It is economical and can make your home or structure take on a unique and attractive appearance.
  •     Natural fiber, such as wool and cotton, make good home insulation material. Much of this is made from recycled wool and cotton fibers, which are then converted into a batt and can be installed in wood-frame sections of a home.

What just a few simple steps, like insulating your pipes, monitoring your home energy usage, and building with green materials, you can do your part to minimize unnecessary energy usage. Besides saving the planet, you will probably save money on energy expenses.

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