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Question DetailsAsked on 2/13/2015

What is reasonable to pay a plumber to wrap pipes in the crawl space of a 1750 sq. ft. house to prevent freezing?

We live in Charlotte, NC, where pipes are in danger of freezing maybe twice each winter.

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1 Answer


Assuming you mean the water pipes. If sewer pipes need insulating too, then typically about 100% more or so, because materials cost goes up several fold due to larger pipe size, but labor cost per lineal foot is not much more for the larger pipe - most of the added labor is just more time hauling the materials in nad a bit more effort to put on fiberglass rather than the usual slip-on foam used on water pipes.

Depending on accessibility of course, but typical cost for the materials is about $0.35-0.50/LF for pipe run insulation, and about $1-2/LF for valve and other larger junctions. Labor cost highly variable - for simple exposed long runs in exposed full-height basement joists can run less than $1/LF in many areas, whereas if the plumber has to remove drywall or vapor barrier to do it, or in hard to reach areas like a low headroom crawlspace can run more like $2-3/LF - plus the cost of repairing the drywall and painting if required. Get several bids - and decide if you want to use a plumber or have a handyman who you trust to do this - that alone can make about a 50% difference in cost.

This is also easy to do yourself, especially in a low freezing threat area like yours where a few minor gaps in the insulation will not make for a major freezing risk. Building supply places carry both tie-around and self-adhesive fiberglass insulation (nice for odd-shaped things like valves, and for sewer pipes) and slip-on split-side foam insulation (nice for water pipes) that you just open up the slit and slip over the pipe, taping the joint with duct tape if you want to do a good job of it. As a DIY, you are commonly looking at (for the materials only) $0.50/LF or so for water pipes, or about $1-2.50/LF for sewer pipes with fiberglass - preslit foam wrap more like $4-5/LF in 3 or 4 inch, so that is normally only used for emergency insulation fo short runs, not a total preventative pipe wrap job.

Sewer pipe insulation in your area - I would talk to the plumbers - as long as yuou have a pretty good slope on your sewer pipe until it enters the ground I wuld suspect you are going to be OK, though I have seen midwest homes have freezeups in crawlspace sewer runs in houses where they do not do daily wash or dishwasher loads or daily showers.

Here is another prior somewhat similar questions with answer that might interest you, even though the situation is not quite the same -

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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