Does code require water pipes in the attic to be insulated?
Saturday, August 24, 2019
The code requires water distribution pipes in “any area subjected to freezing temperatures” to be protected by insulation or heat, and specifically lists attics and crawl spaces as examples. It’s in the Florida Plumbing Code at 305.4 and the Residential edition of the Florida Building Code at P2603.5. The citation is similar in the International Plumbing Code (IPC) and International Residential Code (IRC).
What areas are "exposed to freezing temperatures" depends on where the home is located. There is no insulation of cold water pipe required in the Florida Keys, for example, because it never freezes down there. Garages also are subject to the local jurisdiction’s interpretation of whether pipe insulation is necessary.
The photo at the top of the page is an example of what not to do: PEX water pipe without insulation in an attic that is also next to an access hatch opening and unprotected. Although the flexibility of PEX pipe makes it somewhat resistant to freeze fractures, it is still required to be insulated in an attic. Also, the connection fitting for PEX are not freeze resistant.
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