When people think of the Arizona Desert, specifically the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, the last thing they think of is freezing weather. However the first week of 2019 will see the first of many freeze warnings to come in the East Valley. Insulating water supply pipes and above ground irrigation valves is a good idea for several reasons. Water supply pipes that are exposed to exterior walls or unheated spaces may freeze, burst, and flood your home. Burst irrigation valves and the pipes connected to them can flood your landscape. The critical pipes to insulate are those that run through unheated spaces, such as exterior walls and unheated garages. This includes your main water supply line and any brass components such as bell pressure reducers, shutoff valves and hose bibbs. Above ground irrigation valves as well as both upstream and downstream pipes need to be insulated.
(Insulation velcro makes protecting irrigation valves and brass components a breeze)
A common method used is pipe wrap insulation. This type of insulation is available in many different materials, including flexible foam with rubber backing tape, foam-and-foil pipe insulation and bubble-film pipe wrap. Pipe wrap insulation is easy to install. You simply duct-tape one end to the end of a pipe (if it’s not already self-adhesive) and wrap the insulation around the pipe, overlapping it by at least 1/2 inch with each wrap. Completely cover the pipe, taking care to not leave any areas exposed, then tape the end in place. Pipe-wrap insulating is best suited for insulating small lengths of pipe, or sections where there are many bends.
Another product is tubular sleeve insulation when longer runs of straight pipe need to be covered. Most tubular sleeves are available in 6-foot lengths, so you can cover a lot of ground quickly. The tubular sleeves can be made of either foam or rubber insulation, and both are available in self-sealing styles. Different diameters are available for different pipe sizes—1/2-, 3/4-, and 1-inch. Installing tubular sleeve water pipe insulation is very easy. The sides of the tubular sleeves are split, and once the sleeves are placed over the pipe, the seam can be sealed together or taped shut. It is easy to trim the sleeves to the correct length for each pipe. The corners should be cut to fit tight using miter angles and then duct-taped into place for extra protection. It is a good idea to tape the seams even on self-adhesive styles, since these seams may loosen over time.
A great many burst pipes occur where hose bibbs extend through the walls of the home to the outdoors. When these exterior metal faucets are exposed to frigid winter temperatures, water trapped inside the faucet can expand and burst—causing a split in either the faucet itself or the pipe just inside the walls of the home. A variety of insulated faucet covers are available to protect exterior hose bibbs. Some types are simple rigid foam covers that fit snug over the faucets to prevent heat loss through the metal pipes, while others are more sophisticated locking devices that are intended to also prevent unauthorized use of your hose spigots. When combined with other insulating methods, faucet covers are good insurance against burst pipes.♥♥♥