How Much Does Plumbing Insulation Cost?

Typical Range:

$110 - $1,100

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated February 8, 2022

Reviewed by Jeff Botelho, Licensed Journeyman Plumber.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Plumbing insulation costs between $110 and $1,100 per 100 linear feet, all-in. Nationally, the average is $600 per 100 linear feet. In theory, this is a project that's suitable for DIY, which can save you significant money. However, if you're in an area where winter temperatures drop below zero, it may still be worth hiring a plumber or insulation expert for large-scale projects. You can also contract with a handyman to make sure your cold water pipes don't freeze.

Average Cost of Plumbing Insulation

Average Cost$600
High Cost$1,100
Low Cost$110

*Per 100 feet

Plumbing Insulation Prices

Plumbing insulation prices vary from $0.20 to $3 per linear foot, which works out at $20 to $300 per 100 linear feet. This is the cost range of tubular insulation only. Tee joint and elbow joint insulation sleeves cost an additional $0.50 to $2 each. This does not account for labor.

Plumbing Insulation Cost

Plumbing insulation labor costs range from $45 to $200 per hour, depending on whether you hire a nearby plumber or local handyman. And remember, these professionals charge a minimum of one hour, even if a job only takes 10 minutes. For a simple job, a handyperson can insulate 100 feet of pipe in around two hours, costing you between $90 and $400 in labor. If the job is more complex and time-consuming, such as due to working in a tight or inaccessible spot or having lots of joints to cover, it can take up to four hours, costing you $180 to $800 in labor. You might save on the cost of installing new plumbing pipes, as your pro will most likely add insulation as part of the overall project, reducing labor time and costs.

Plumbing Insulation Cost Per Linear Foot

The total cost per linear foot for pipe insulation is $1.10 to $11. This is broken down into materials at $0.20 to $3 per linear foot and labor at $0.90 to $8 per linear foot. Therefore, for a 100-foot insulation job, you could pay anywhere from $110 to $1,100.

Plumbing Insulation Cost by Type

There are three main types of pipe insulation, and each is better suited to different applications and budgets. If you live in an extremely cold environment and your pipes are at serious risk of freezing, you'll need insulation with a higher R-value. The R-value of a product refers to how much heat it allows to pass through. The higher the R-value, the more effective the product is as an insulator.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass tubular pipe insulation is well-suited to insulating hot water pipes and costs $1.80 to $3 per linear foot, depending on the thickness of the pipe wraps. It can work for cold water pipes. Plus, fiberglass is an irritant and those tiny fibers get everywhere, so even if you're wearing protection, it's not desirable for use in tight quarters.

However, if you're insulating pipes in areas of elevated fire risk, high summer temperatures, or insulating pipes carrying extremely hot water, fiberglass is the go-to choice. It is capable of tolerating extreme heat whereas foam and rubber would melt.

Foam

Tubular foam insulation starts at $0.20 per linear foot and goes up to $1.35 per linear foot. Foam insulation is easier to work with over long lengths and in tight quarters than fiberglass and isn't an irritant, so it doesn't require any PPE to use safely. Foam is a solid, budget-friendly option well-suited for insulating regular hot and cold residential water pipes. In temperate climates, it's a better option for insulating cold water pipes than fiberglass as it doesn't get saturated by moisture from sweating pipes and often has a higher R-value. The water droplets simply pass through the foam layer without compromising efficiency.

Rubber

Rubber tubular insulation costs from $0.90 to $1.45 per linear foot. Tubular rubber insulation is a popular choice for working in tight or challenging areas because it's so flexible. Plus, because of its flexibility, you don't need tee joints or elbow joints as, with a few cuts in the right places, the rubber insulation can adequately insulate bends and joints.

Factors that influence the cost of plumbing insulation include the complexity of the job. In a challenging environment or an area that's tight or difficult to access, the plumber or handyperson has a tougher, more time-consuming job on their hands, so naturally, the costs will increase.

The thickness or R-value of the insulation also has a direct impact on cost. The higher the R-value, the more the insulation costs. However, in areas with below-freezing winters, there's a real risk of pipes freezing if they aren't adequately insulated, so high R-value insulation is necessary to avoid the cost of fixing a burst cold water pipe.

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DIY vs. Hiring an Insulation Pro

The cost to insulate your plumbing yourself is pretty low, with tubular insulation starting at $0.20 per linear foot. However, if you live in an area where insulating your pipes to avoid freezing and bursting is essential, you're probably better off leaving it to the pros. Even though it's a simple job, if you get it wrong, you'll be looking at a very costly repair bill if a pipe freezes and bursts. Properly insulation pipes will not sweat, however saturated insulation is indictive of a leak or improperly sealed joints.

FAQs

Do I need to insulate my hot water pipes?

While it's not an essential requirement, insulating your hot water pipes is a good idea. It's true that they're not at risk of freezing in most scenarios, but insulating them reduces heat loss and therefore energy consumption. Insulating hot water pipes can increase water temperature by as much as 4 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing you to lower the thermostat by the same amount without noticing any reduction in warmth. Each year, that's a significant saving on your energy bill and a good reduction in your home's carbon footprint.

Should I insulate pipes in the crawl space?

Yes, definitely insulate pipes in the crawl space to reduce heat loss and stop cold water pipes from freezing. It's also a good idea to insulate the whole crawl space. Crawl space insulation costs $1 to $5 per square foot.

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