Building codes today require a minimum u value of insulation in all new construction and major renovations. Keeping the heat in and cool air out is a given in today’s world.
But, in yesterday’s world pre-code, there were no such requirements. Houses were not insulated except, perhaps, for a little horsehair and clay. This left indoor plumbing against exterior walls at risk of freezing when winter set in.
What to do? Can you protect your pipes anyway, and if so how?
Insulating Under The Kitchen Sink
Of course, there are ways to protect them, and that’s what we want to discuss today. But, you might be surprised to learn that there are actually two reasons to insulate under the sink:
- To keep the pipes from freezing, and
- To deaden noise
Those of you who have metal sinks, whether copper or stainless steel, know that annoyance. Turning on the tap will bring a hollow, booming sound, seemingly magnified in the kitchen, just at the worst time as you are watching a tense moment on your favorite television show.
Insulating The Kitchen Sink to Dampen Noise
You’ll find kitchen sink deadening kits at any of the big home improvement and DIY stores, as well as at your local hardware stores and online retail stores. The deadening pads look like your car floor mats and have adhesive strips.
You simply peel away the paper cover and apply the pads to the sides and bottom of your sink. The pads come in various sizes and will fit any size sink.
They are inexpensive, effective, and easy to install. There’s no need to hire anyone to do this simple task, and it can be completed in minutes. You’ll be surprised how something so easy and simple can cure that annoying noise so well.
Insulating the Pipes Under Your Kitchen Sink, First Steps
As you’d expect, there are also easy and simple solutions for keeping your plumbing pipes protected against freezing temperatures. They, too, are inexpensive, effective, and easy to install.
There are a couple of initial considerations to take into account before you get to the pipes, also simple and pretty obvious:
- Check the back wall of the space beneath the sink for gaps, and when you find them, seal them.
- Don’t cheap out on this with duct tape, which expands and contracts in ways that would make it useless for this purpose.
- Ask your DIY store staff for suggestions on effective insulation for such a purpose, something you can cut to size and apply with the proper adhesive.
- Self-seal insulation pads will serve your purpose well here.
After taking these simple steps, you’re ready to address the pipes. Don’t assume sealing gaps and adding some product with insulating qualities in these small places will be the full cure.
Wrapping Your Pipes With The Right Materials
You have several choices here for materials, each of which will effectively protect your pipes during winter’s cold spells. Let’s take a look at the list:
- Self-seal rubber insulation is a good first choice. It’s more durable and energy-efficient than other materials, and it expands and contracts as temperatures change. It’s easy to cut to size, and easy to install. No special skills or tools are required.
- Another choice might be polyethylene foam. It comes in tube form, pre-slit, and it, too, is very easy to install. You can purchase self-sealing tubes, making installation even easier. It does not expand and contract with changing temperatures as well as rubber and can become a bit rigid. Nonetheless, it is an effective insulator, and its installation requires no special skills or tools.
- A third choice is fiberglass. It can be purchased in kits, with easy to follow instructions. Most kits will come with a plastic vapor barrier to wrap over the fiberglass as an additional insulation measure.
I’ll mention one final pipe-wrapping product, probably the easiest to install – foam insulation. Rigid foam insulation comes with a foil backing and is simply pressed into place and secured with a self-adhesive layer.
It takes just minutes to install.
The thing to remember about all of these choices is the ease of installation. There are no tools to purchase for the job, no confusing instructions to decipher, no labor cost except for your own time, and no excuse for not doing it yourself.
One More Suggestion When Insulating Pipes Under the Sink
You know winter is coming. You know it is going to be cold. You know all this well in advance.
So, don’t wait for it.
The products mentioned here are sold all year round. Take these precautions during the summer or early fall. When that first cold spell hits, you’ll be glad you did. Then, you only have yourself to wrap in that extra blanket.