The problem of freezing water pipes is relevant from the first frost until the very spring.
First of all, water pipes that are thrown above the ground and are not insulated sufficiently suffer. In this article, we will figure out how to reliably insulate a water pipe above the ground, what materials and tools will be required for this.
A little about plumbing
In private construction, an open water supply system is often used to supply water from a well. It is simpler, faster and easier to assemble, does not require the use of special equipment, such as an excavator, etc. There is one big minus in such a system, it is extremely sensitive to temperature changes, therefore, to maintain performance, it requires reliable insulation. In some cases, especially when violations were made during insulation, freezing still occurs, which can lead to a rupture of the pipeline.
It is possible to minimize the risk of rupture during freezing; for this, it is necessary to choose the material from which the pipe is made. The most susceptible to rupture are metal and metal-plastic pipes; their use is not recommended. Plastic pipe options are able to expand slightly under ice pressure, so their rupture during freezing is extremely rare.
The questions of how to insulate a metal or plastic water pipe on the street, what materials are cheaper and what are the free options, are what are of primary interest to those who build or maintain their own home. When choosing a heater, it is important to understand that it is more convenient to use highly specialized materials, but they are a bit more expensive. First of all, consider free options for heaters.
Free insulation for outdoor plumbing
One of the cheapest, and for many, completely free insulation is sawdust. Their use allows you to minimize the cost of insulation, but complicates the process a little, because. to isolate the water supply from the cold with the help of sawdust, it will be necessary to additionally make a box in which they are poured.
Manure can be used as a free water pipe insulation. In the process of rotting manure, a large amount of heat is released. It is able not only to protect the water supply from the cold, but also to warm it up a little. As with sawdust, manure requires an additional box.
In some cases, slag is used as a heater. It is porous, contains a large amount of air and protects the pipeline well from freezing. In private houses where individual heating boilers are installed, slag is available in sufficient quantities, so using it you can not only minimize the cost of insulation, but also save money, because. slag removal requires certain costs.
How to insulate a water pipe on the street
The construction market has a large number of modern materials that can be used to insulate the pipeline, and there are those designed specifically for this purpose. Consider popular insulating materials for pipelines.
One of the cheapest, but not the most practical insulation that can be used, including for plumbing, is mineral wool. The material is porous and reliably insulates the pipeline from the cold.
The disadvantage of such a heater is its high hygroscopicity, it strongly absorbs moisture, due to which the thermal insulation characteristics gradually decrease.
During the operation of the pipeline, especially in conditions of insufficient ventilation, condensate constantly accumulates on its surface, which is successfully absorbed by mineral wool. It is for this reason that using it is not the best option.
There are several forms of mineral wool production. Almost everything is used for pipes, but it is more convenient to use the one that is made in the form of a shell for water supply.
Expanded polystyrene for pipes
The next material that is successfully used to protect pipelines from freezing is expanded polystyrene. It has a porous structure, which contains a large amount of air, for this reason it has a low coefficient of thermal conductivity.
Expanded polystyrene does not absorb moisture well, so it can be used in places where there is direct contact with water.
Manufacturers produce expanded polystyrene for pipes in the form of a shell, which is put on the pipeline and fixed with a special lock or adhesive tape. It is convenient to use such a heater for a pipeline with a minimum number of turns. The fact is that the polystyrene shell for pipes practically does not bend. For this reason, additional polypropylene parts are used to insulate corner joints, taps and other structural elements, which are installed end-to-end with the main insulation and sealed with adhesive tape.
Foil Styrofoam for Pipes
The material is made of ordinary polystyrene pipe shells, additionally wrapped in a foil coating.
The foil reflects heat radiation well and does not allow cold to penetrate into the material. Insulation of an open pipeline in a private house or in a country house using this material is more preferable, because. foil polystyrene foam more reliably insulates the pipeline from the cold.
Another material that is successfully used for insulation of pipelines, including open ones, is polyethylene foam.
It is made in the form of tubes of various diameters and different wall thicknesses. For ease of installation, some types of tubular polyethylene foam have a longitudinal section, if there is no such section, then, if necessary, it can be easily made using a regular clerical knife.
Foamed polyethylene practically does not rot and, if properly installed, is able to additionally protect the pipeline from moisture, because does not absorb water. It is possible to install foam polyethylene insulation both during the pipeline assembly process and after it is put into operation. Installation does not require special equipment or tools, it is enough to have a tape measure and a clerical knife.
Advice! For reliable insulation of a water pipe, you can wrap it in several layers of polyethylene foam insulation of various diameters.
Like the previous material, polyethylene foam can be produced with an additional coating in the form of foil or metallized film. Thermal insulation with a foil coating protects more reliably from the cold, but requires mandatory gluing with a joint using metallized adhesive tape. Compared to price, foil insulation is a little more expensive than usual.
Polyurethane foam spraying
Such a heater is able to reliably protect the pipeline from the cold. The disadvantage of the method is its high cost, because you will need to pay not only the material, but also the work of the installers. It will not work to spray on the pipeline on your own. To do this, you need to have special equipment and skills to use it. It should be borne in mind that the foam is afraid of direct sunlight, so the street water supply insulated using this method must be additionally wrapped in a material that does not transmit light. We recommend roofing material, foil or other material with similar characteristics.
Electrical low current cable
One of the options for protecting the pipeline from freezing is the use of a special heating cable. The option is expensive, because. the cable itself is not cheap, besides, you need to purchase a voltage regulator. Although the current consumption is not high, but over a long period of operation, such a system is able to «wind» for a decent amount.
To install such a system, certain skills are not required, it is enough to wind the cable around the pipeline and plug it into the outlet. The system can be combined with classic insulation, for this, after winding the wire, the pipeline is wrapped in thermal insulation. This method allows you to reduce the cost of heating the pipe and use the heating cable less often or only in emergency cases, for example, when the temperature drops below -20 or the pipeline freezes.
How to insulate a pipe with cold water
Consider how you can insulate a cold water pipe with your own hands. Work begins with taking measurements and choosing a heater. The length of the pipe and its diameter are measured. If you plan to use rolled insulation, such as mineral wool, you do not need to measure the diameter of the pipeline, since this is not important. In the case of tubular insulation, the length and diameter of the pipeline are important.
In order to properly insulate the pipe, it is necessary to follow several recommendations of masters and manufacturers of thermal insulation materials:
- There should be no uninsulated areas.
- Throughout the pipeline, the insulation must be securely fixed.
- Joints of thermal insulation with foil coating must be glued with metal tape.
- If there are taps in the system, they must be completely closed with thermal insulation material.
It is convenient to cut the insulation with an ordinary paper knife. Tape or plastic ties are suitable for fixing. Some manufacturers, complete with insulation, supply fasteners designed to fix it, as a rule, these are plastic clips. The installation step of the fastening clips should not exceed 15 cm.
If for reliable insulation it is required to make a frame (box), it can be made from boards. The wooden structure is rigid and does not require additional protection against mechanical damage. You can also make a foam box, it is less durable, but additionally protects the pipeline from freezing. It is convenient to use polyurethane foam to fasten foam sheets to each other; in addition, it will save the structure from the penetration of cold, because. fills the gaps between the frame elements.
Do I need to insulate the sewer pipe
Owners of private houses often ask questions about the insulation of sewer pipes. Is it really necessary, as manufacturers of heat-insulating materials advise? The fact is that a properly installed sewer system, which has a normal drain angle and pipe diameter, can function in winter without additional thermal insulation. But who will guarantee that your system is perfectly designed and assembled, so it is better to play it safe and equip additional protection with thermal insulation materials.
How to insulate sewer pipes in a private house
The sewer system is insulated according to the same principle as a conventional water supply system. All work on the insulation of the drain is carried out at the stage of sewerage assembly, because. in most cases, the system is closed and located in the ground.
As materials, you can use roll insulation or special heat insulators for large diameter pipelines. Foil-coated materials are preferred as they are able to protect the pipeline from direct contact with moisture, which will positively affect the life of the drain. This is especially true for metal drain structures, because. they are more sensitive to aggressive substances.
In conclusion of the article, we note that it is possible to insulate a water supply pipe located on the street or in an unheated room on your own, there is nothing difficult in the work. The main thing is to follow the recommendations and use the right material.