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Old 08-25-09, 05:53 PM   #1
z415
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Copper pipe insulation help needed

Need advice on how to insulate copper piping (1/2" I think) that runs outside of the house. Who ever did that did not insulate and it is a miracle that my parents have yet to have a freeze burst the pipes. Of course, since it hasn't happened in 15 years, they don't believe me that it could happen, but I'm going to fix it as best I can anyways.

Anyways, the pipe is flush against the house. I was planning on some rubberized foam tubes, but because it is flush it is an impossible fit. My other option was cut some PVC down its length and then fitting that over over the copper and then spraying some Great Stuff in between the PVC and copper, using that as insulation and adhesive, but I can't imagine that going very smoothly with the foam expanding, plus I realize that the Great Stuff would make pipe repairs a little more complicated.

Any tips?

Hoping that are some plumbers or handy folk out here. Last thread I started I learned that no one that frequents BF Foo uses Scottrade.
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Old 08-25-09, 06:12 PM   #2
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Unless I'm misunderstanding the setup, I think cutting the foam tubes in half (or slightly more generously) and gluing or taping them over the pipes ought to do fine. There won't be a significant amount, if any heat loss on the house-facing side.

To be certain, they should leave a faucet on that piping on a steady drip overnight if a hard freeze is forecast.
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Old 08-25-09, 08:25 PM   #3
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There are basically two options: foam tubes(alluded to already, and works quite well), and wrap around insulation that comes in rolls(kind of like bar tape). With copper, there is some flexibility, so I would try to bend the pipe slightly, enough to get the foam tubes around.
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Old 08-25-09, 08:27 PM   #4
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Foam tubes and cable ties. Easy, cheap, effective and fast.
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Old 08-25-09, 08:28 PM   #5
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careful not to nsulate the pipe from the current heat source of the house.
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Old 08-25-09, 08:54 PM   #6
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careful not to nsulate the pipe from the current heat source of the house.
You're in Florida? I wouldn't bother. It has to get pretty cold and stay there to burst pipes. One or two nights below freezing ain't gonna do it.
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Old 08-26-09, 04:33 AM   #7
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You're in Florida? I wouldn't bother. It has to get pretty cold and stay there to burst pipes. One or two nights below freezing ain't gonna do it.
Better be safe than sorry. I have heard of frozen, busted pipes around here. My folks have just been lucky.
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Old 08-26-09, 04:33 AM   #8
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Foam tubes and cable ties. Easy, cheap, effective and fast.
Good one. Did not think about using the package of zip ties I have. Thanks, will do that when I get back. Now starting to wish I got the cheaper non-self sealing tubing for cheaper.
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Old 08-26-09, 04:41 AM   #9
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Is the pipe anchored to the wall/foundation in some way? If it is, they'll probably just be 2-hole straps, which you could easily unscrew to get some more movement in the pipe. Then putting insulation around them would be easier.
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Old 08-27-09, 10:10 AM   #10
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cut the pipes, rejoint them, and move them away from the wall

it's the only sure fire correct way. or get super thin aerogel ($$$) pipe insulation. high tech stuff
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Old 08-27-09, 02:21 PM   #11
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Remove pipe, reinstall the correct way. Messy and time consuming that it is, it's the right thing to do.
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Old 08-27-09, 11:01 PM   #12
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Remove pipe, reinstall the correct way. Messy and time consuming that it is, it's the right thing to do.
Yea, my sweating skills are crap. I screwed up a power jack removal and install on my other laptop so I'llstay away from that for a while.

Next up on the list is to over haul the water heater. Anodes, t/p valves, and setting up a drainage system. Seems that my folks did not realize the need for the latter even though their last heater flooded their laundry room.
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Old 08-27-09, 11:03 PM   #13
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. or get super thin aerogel ($$$) pipe insulation. high tech stuff
Overkill? Isn't that for industrial applications?
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Old 08-28-09, 12:47 PM   #14
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If you are still looking for Ideas... buy some "Great Stuff" and cover the pipes. Cut any excess with a razor. Will seal up the pipes good. They do make an outdoor application that is black if the tan color won't look good.
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