Thermal Insulation and pipe cladding
The main reason for thermal insulation to be fitted on your pipework or appliances
- Reducing the amount of energy used from fossil fuels, making your boiler more efficient is good for your wallet and the environment
- Insulation has the greatest potential for reducing CO2 emissions.
How does pipe insulation work?
To minimise the risk of both freezing and heat loss, copper pipes can be insulated fairly cheaply with pipe insulation. It’s an easy DIY task and supplies are available online – you just place foam tubes around pipes and secure them in place with cable ties. It may be worth hiring a plumber to install it in hard-to-reach areas.
Everyone knows the importance of insulating their walls and lofts; so why do people forget their water pipes? Lagging is especially worthwhile in the loft, and pipes leading to outside taps, as these areas may well be the coldest.
Pipe insulation materials
Polyethylene (flexible plastic foamed insulation) – this is probably the most widely used type of pipe insulation.
Mineral/glass wool – This has good thermal, acoustic and fire-retardant properties. It does not shrink, swell, rot or burn, so is a popular choice.
Flexible elastomeric foam – This rubber-like material is highly resistant to the passage of water vapour and has good thermal properties, even when used at comparatively small thicknesses.
Rigid foam – normally used in industrial buildings, for really large pipes. Not widely commercially available for domestic applications.
Silica aerogel – No-one currently manufactures aerogel insulation specifically for pipes, but there are hopes that it will be available in the future. Currently available as a paste, the material has the lowest thermal conductivity of any commercially produced insulation.
Tape – this can be made from foil, plastic or cork, and is wrapped around pipes.