Hot Water Pipe Insulation

Use foam hot water pipe insulation to save energy and money.

If you've touched the hot water pipe leading away from your hot water heater and found it was warm, you'll want to install hot water pipe insulation. First, this is an easy way to save both energy and money. Second, when you turn on the tap you should get hot water a bit quicker.

It's best to see if the pipes are warm in the morning before anyone uses hot water. This will give you accurate information on whether you need to use hot water pipe insulation.

Depending how far you feel warm pipes it should cost about $10 for foam pipe insulation (which seems to be the easiest type of insulation to install). Since the polyethylene foam is cut to slip right over the pipe it's about a 10 minute job. You can even buy self-sealing foam to make the job quicker. has a short video on installing foam water pipe insulation.

If you have an electric hot water heater, then there's really nothing special to note. For gas water heaters you'll want to keep the insulation at least six inches from the flue (according to PG&E).

Once you're done you may want to consider turning down your water heater a bit since wrapping pipes can raise the temperature coming out of your faucets up to four degrees.

If you haven't already done so, you should also consider checking to see if you need a hot water heater blanket.

Try our Home Energy Checklist for more ideas on home energy savings.