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    Circulating efficiency: Insulating the pipes helps retain heat and can protect the plumbing from wear. Here, a spray-on material is used.
Clean lines: This plumbing is wrapped with black insulating sleeves to help retain heat.

When insulating pools, spas and waterfeatures, builders should not only think about the shell, but include plumbing into the equation, too.

Insulating the pipe not only helps maintain heat throughout the circulation system, but also protects it from frost damage, or the punctures and abrasions that can occur from rocks and other objects.

There are different methods available. Gene Brown, president of Valley Pool & Spa in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, uses the same materials he does on his shells, placing rigid SM panels in the floor of the plumbing trenches.

He then encases the plumbing by applying a spray-on material, because it conforms to the varying bends and elevations of the pipe.

There is also a wrap-around insulation available for pipe. The black material comes in sleeves with a slit down one side, and allows builders to insulate exposed piping, which protects it from the ultraviolet damage that occurs over time with sun exposure.

Builders place the sleeves around the pipes, cutting and taping at the joints to create a seal.

However, when wrapping the material around sweep elbows, don’t attempt to follow the curve.

“The sleeves are square, so when you put one around a radius corner, you can just miter it at 45 degrees and it looks really neat and trim,” says Barry Justus, president of Poolscape Inc. in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

“When we first started doing it, we tried to miter all around it and make it curve, and it was just a nightmare. You can never get it to look nice, and it takes forever. So we just did a 45-degree miter.”