Worried by the thought of your next heating bill? Concerned by the prospect of your pipes freezing in winter? Proper insulation could well be the answer — and what’s more it’s cheap and easy to install.
Insulation is important because it reduces I heat loss, and when properly applied to your water system it benefits you in a number of ways. Firstly, it saves you money by slowing down the rate at which heat is lost trom the pipes and tanks of your hot water system.
Secondly, by reducing the heat loss from your cold water system (and even the coldest water contains some heat) it tends to keep your cold water warmer in winter, thereby minimizing the risk of frozen pipes. Warmer cold water in winter also means that it takes less energy to heat it up to the desired temperature when it enters your hot water tank. In this respect, too, insulation saves you money.
So for all the above reasons you should consider properly insulating your pipes and tanks. The cost of the materials you will need is small and the potential savings great. And if you have already insulated your loft floor then this is one job you really must attend to. It has to be done because the temperature of your loft in winter will now be only marginally higher than that of the air outside, which means that the danger of any exposed pipe- work freezing in cold weather is greatly increased.
Ideally you should therefore insulate your pipes and tanks before you tackle the loft floor. And don’t forget that the risk of frozen pipes also applies to pipes in the cellar, and anywhere else where they might be subject to extremes of cold.
Before purchasing the insulation material for your pipes and tanks, work out how much you are likely to need. Most tanks will have their capacity and/or their dimensions marked on them somewhere — if yours don’t then measure them yourself.
You will also need to calculate the combined length of the pipes you intend insulating and establish what their diameter is — though this last measurement is only important if you plan to use split sleeve insulation (see below). As you’ll want the insulation on your tanks to overlap that which you fit to any pipes that run into them, it’s best to start by insulating your pipework.