Insulating a bathtub may sound like an underexplored idea or possibly even an unimportant one. Rest assured, though, that it is both possible and sometimes very necessary indeed. Sometimes the hollow spaces between the tub and walls creates a sound amplifier (much like a subwoofer in a speaker system) that can be annoying. At other times, the water in the tub may lose its heat. Whatever your reasons, bathtub insulation has almost no risk and can only help the situation.
Look at your bathtub. Is the paneling easily removable? If not, the project may be more trouble than it's worth. If you've already removed the bathtub surroundings or it's newly installed and paneling hasn't been put in place yet, this is the perfect stage to start.
Check the Plumbing
Ensure that all of the plumbing seals are properly applied and tight, and that there are no leaks between the tub and the wall or cracks in the tub itself. This is the most important part of preparation for insulation because moisture is a common cause of insulation deficiency and can lead to other, nastier problems, such as mold and wood rot.
When finding insulation material, you can employ your own creative freedom because there are many good insulators that are easy to find inexpensively--or even for free. Styrofoam, packing peanuts, insulation foam or aerosol (the least environmentally friendly) insulation will work. There is a multitude of ways that these materials can be used. So take your time and consider what you need from your insulation when you buy.
Pack all available space between the wall and bathtub with insulation, and install (or re-install) the paneling to seal it. It's common to apply insulation to only the three (or two) sides that face walls because non-walled insulation requires construction of outside paneling or complete removal of the bathtub. As with all projects of this nature, do what is most cost-effective and energy-efficient. Following this guideline will save time and money, and you might even have fun in the process.
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