If you have a compression water distribution system in your home, it's very likely that you also have PEX tubing. PEX, or crosslinked polythene, attaches directly to the distribution unit and supplies hot or cold water to individual fixtures within your home. Unlike copper water pipes, PEX does not freeze as easily. However, if the PEX tubes run along an exterior wall, the water may freeze during cold spells. The best time to insulate PEX is during the construction of your home. Afterward, you can only insulate visible tubing.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Foam pipe insulation
- Utility knife
- Insulating tape
Start at the water compression unit, and cut workable sections of foam pipe insulation to fit around the tubing. Up to 10 feet is about the limit for handling the insulation with ease, but if your insulation is hard to unroll, you can cut smaller sections.
Work the section of foam pipe insulation over the tubing. The insulation features a slit along one side so you can pry it open and fit it around the PEX tube. Push the foam insulation tightly against the start of the tube, right up to the connector that attaches to the water distribution unit.
Peel the protective adhesive strip off the inside of the foam pipe insulation after it's in place. As soon as you peel it off, the edges of the foam will stick firmly together. Use your hand to squeeze the foam to ensure that the edges are completely sealed.
Cut another section of foam pipe insulation and fit it over the next section of PEX tubing. Butt the ends tightly together before you peel off the protective adhesive strip.
Wrap insulating tape around the butt joint where the two foam insulation sections meet to seal the seam.
Continue cutting, fitting and taping the foam insulation until you've covered all the visible PEX tubing.
Tips and warnings
- There is usually no need to insulate PEX that runs through interior walls in the home because they are unlikely to freeze as long as the home is inhabited.
- Try to locate all your PEX tubing in interior walls if you're building a home.
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