baseboard heating pipes
Photo: Ludger Paffrath/Getty Images
Q: How can I seal the gaps where the pipes for the baseboard heating come through the floor? I want to keep out the dust and the occasional bug that comes up from the basement. — Brian, via e-mail

A: Take some mineral-wool insulation and stuff it into those holes between the pipes and the floor. It will keep out the dust and bugs and won't melt in a fire, as fiberglass will. Be sure to wear gloves while handling it; the fibers can irritate your skin.

After the gaps are filled, hide your work with those two-piece metal escutcheons that slip around the pipe and rest against the floor. You can get them through PlumbingSupply.com. Nobody wants to look at raw insulation in their living space.

— This Old House plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey

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