Skeletons Schmeletons. Are there exposed pipes in your basement?

If there are bare copper hot water pipes visible near your hot water heater, you can save 1454687_10153525872015105_685902091_nenergy and money.  A Weatherization First team from Grace Lutheran Church took these before and after photos over the weekend.  The fix will lower the utility bill for a low-income household AND reduce climate emissions.


Not much of a DIY person?  You can handle this without resorting to any colorful language.  I promise.  Click through to the directions, and you’ll know you can, too.


  • hot-water-pipe insulation from the big box store or our friends over at Ace Hardware.ACE.locallogo
  • office scissors
  • a step stool
  • a partner
  • a tape measure (in a pinch a string will do!)
  • bonus: extra tape.   I like packing tape for this job, but other kinds will do.

How to:

  1. Measure the exposed pipes to figure out how much insulation to buy.
  2. Buy the insulation.
  3. Cut the right length for one straight stretch of pipe.
  4. Insert pipe into insulation along lengthwise opening.
  5. Peel off the peel-and-stick cover.
  6. Squeeze two sides together to stick.
  7. Wrap tape around anywhere the peel-and-stick feature is straining.  (Wrap tape around and stick to itself for this.  It will hold better over time.)
  8. Repeat #3-7.
  9. Donate the extras to Weatherization first, or take them over to a neighbor and offer to install there.  (You’re practically a contractor now!)

Getting fancy? Angle cut the corners, or purchase the pre-made joint pieces.  No need to channel Martha Stewart or Bob Vila, but you’ll cover a little more pipe.

A full set of photos appears on the PA IPL Facebook page.