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Question DetailsAsked on 6/6/2011

Insulating pipes

The water pipe for my kitchen sink is outside the wall of my house. Recently, I had to have some of it replaced because it started to 'ooze' water. (It didn't burst, it just oozed water from the body of the pipe, rising slightly UP from a joint.) Yes, I know it sounds weird, but there you have it: It oozed.) The pipe sits in direct southern-exposure Southern California sun, which shines oh, 24 hours a day, and it takes about 1.5 to 2 full minutes of running the cold water to GET cold water. Otherwise, it actually comes out hot (in summer...in winter, it's cold). I figure the constant change in temp between the heated water in the pipes and the cold water I want caused the old pipes to deteriorate. My question is: Can I wrap some sort of insulation around the pipes? If I do, will it help? What kind? Would an insulated wooden box attached to the wall to cover the pipes be of use, or would it make the situation worse? What I know about plumbing is this: don't tighten too tight. Everything else is a total mystery, so please be very specific.

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2 Answers

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insulation should help and will not hurt, but the rubber type insulation in direct heat will deteriorate fast and build a box to cover over it. may help.

Answered 6 years ago by wmadix

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I realize this is an old post, but in case your problem was not solved yet - and for info for others seeing the post:

The pipe will not get hot enough in the sun to cause a problem - your joints were leaking either because of poor connection jobs (sealing/soldering) or because your pipes are getting quite old and starting to corrode out - joints commonly go first. However, exposed exterior pipe is not a greatidea, even in SoCal - one of these days SoCal will get another El Nino influenced event like in about 1957 or 58 as I recall and again about 1964 where even the coastal areas got up to several inches of snow and quite a number of exposed water pipes that froze and broke over a week of cold weather.


For the heated/chilled cold water issue, you could buy some pipe wrap insulation at any building supply/home improvement/box store - split gray or black foam tubes you just open up at the split and slip over the pipe. However, either paint the outside surface white (without saturating the foam insulation with paint) or put a solar shield of any kind over it (but not touching it) to keep the black insulation from picking up even more solar heat. Easy solution would be to cut a slot in a piece of white PVC sewer/drain pipe and slip it over the outdoor section of the pipe - just center on the pipe with string through holes at the ends and leave open to airflow through it at both ends - will shield from solar heating and keep pipe at about outside air temp. That plus the slip-on insulation would keep the temperature closer to house temp.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD




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