According to the U.S. Department of Energy, pipe sleeves are a pretty good idea.
Enough said. If the government says it’s good for you, or even bad for you, then you should take it on blind faith that 535 elected and appointed officials along with the attached bureaucracy and red tape know exactly what’s best for you. Don’t even question it by applying critical thought or common sense. Just do it.
Now that we’ve established the omnipotence of the government, let’s talk about pipe sleeves. For the most part, these tubular shaped neoprene foam beauties are designed to be wrapped around your assorted hot water pipes so as to retain as much heat as possible in the pipe instead of escaping outward. This allows your water heater to work a little less hard, which allows for a lower temperature setting, which eventually leads to small savings on your energy bills. There’s probably some benefit as it relates to going green, however I try not to deal in too many hypotheticals here at TharpSter.Org.
The only thing you really have to do with these things is to wrap them around your pipes and secure them about every 12” (that’s a government recommendation, not mine).
The perfect example for use of the pipe sleeve is on your water heater. Please take notice that I didn’t call it a “hot water heater”. Technically, you don’t need a hot water heater anymore than I do. My water heater does a pretty good job of heating water, and I don’t need the hot water in my water heater to be heated. Easy as that.
Notice the convenient absence of the pipe sleeves on my own water heater. I should probably make the point here that the missing pipe sleeves has absolutely nothing to do with my hatred of how our government today wants to run my life. Instead, it has everything to do with the fact that I’m a procrastinator and just haven’t gotten around to insulating those bad boys. As a result, I’m losing approximately 2 to 4 degrees (Fahrenheit) of warmth from those pipes on a regular basis. Geez-o-Petes, if the earth were in the middle of climate changes that drastic, Al Gore might actually have a factual leg to stand on. It’s not though, and neither does he.
Strangely enough, it would seem that taking care of your hot water pipes is not the only thing pipe sleeves should be used for. I’m sure there’s not a kid alive today that hasn’t picked one up in a the local home improvement store and initiated some sort of saber-like dual with a sibling, or even the grumpy old customer service associate who is there for the soul purpose of telling customers where the #5 lock washers are located.
Yet still, there are bound to be other uses for the pipe sleeve, just as much as there are other uses for paper clips.
For what it’s worth, paper clips make for great Q-Tips.