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Pipe and Tank Insulation

Pipe Insulation

By insulating your heating system’s pipes and tank, you could keep water heated for a longer period and reduce your energy usage. In this guide, we’ll take you through the ways in which you can reduce heat loss in your home heating system and save on your energy bills.

What is hot water tank insulation?

Do you have a heat-only or system boiler in your home? If so, you’re likely to also have a hot water cylinder/tank. These cylinders store your hot water whilst your pipes transport the heated water to your taps and radiators.

You can insulate your hot water cylinder using a ‘jacket’ made of material such as glass fibre, which will help to keep water warm and prevent heat from escaping. Your heating system therefore won’t have to work as hard, resulting in less energy usage. By insulating your hot water cylinder, you could reduce heat loss by 75% [1] and save up to £100 on your annual energy bill [2]. You could also reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 530kg [2].

Can I insulate my hot water tank myself?

Insulating your hot-water cylinder can be a simple DIY task, with most cylinder jackets costing around £15 [2]. Before purchasing the jacket, you should measure your hot water cylinder to ensure that it will fit. The recommended thickness for a cylinder jacket is at least 80mm [2]; you can top up any existing insulation on your cylinder to make sure that it meets these measurements. Additionally, you should ensure that the jacket you purchase conforms to British Safety Standards.

Fitting the jacket should be a fairly straightforward task. All you have to do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Most jackets feature a cord that ties over the top of the cylinder, and straps that are used to keep the jacket panels in place. Before you begin, you should switch off your heating and allow the cylinder to cool down.

It’s worth noting that if your hot water cylinder is located in an airing cupboard, the insulation is likely to reduce the amount of heat that circulates. You can tie the elements of the cylinder jacket slightly looser to allow some heat to travel through.

What is pipe insulation?

Pipe insulation involves ‘lagging’ the pipes in your heating system with foam tubes to reduce heat loss and to keep water warm for longer. This measure also helps to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting during winter. A frozen condensate pipe is a common issue during the colder season, and it can cause your boiler to stop working. Insulating your pipes can thus help to keep your heating system functioning effectively when you need it the most.

Can Pipe Insulation be conducted DIY?

Like tank insulation, insulating your pipes is usually a simple DIY task. Using foam tubes made of materials such as polyethylene or mineral wool, you simply cover your pipes and secure them with cable ties. If any pipes are particularly hard to reach, you can seek help from a professional plumber.

Foam tubes usually cost around £10 and can be found in most DIY shops [1]. The recommended thickness is at least 20mm [1]. Savings of around £10 can be made from pipe insulation per year [1], so it shouldn’t take long for the purchase costs to be returned. 

What else can I do to increase my heating system’s efficiency?

As well as pipe and tank insulation, the following measures can also help to increase efficiency:

Radiator reflector panels – Fitting foil reflector panels behind your radiators is a low-cost measure that helps to retain heat and reduce your energy usage. These panels reflect heat into your rooms instead of allowing it to escape through external walls.

 New boiler – Your boiler is the central part of your heating system. An inefficient boiler will have a knock-on effect on the rest of your heating. By getting a new, A-rated, energy-efficient boiler, you could get a better quality of home heating with as little energy use as possible.

If you’re looking for ways to lower your energy bills, you should also consider switching energy suppliers. Being on the wrong tariff can lead to excessively high energy bills, even if you are using energy saving measures such as insulation. Our quick and easy comparison tool could help you find the best energy tariff for your needs. Alternatively, visit our energy guides for more information and tips on saving energy in your home.

 

Caveats

 

[1] https://www.homeheatingguide.co.uk/energy-efficiency/insulating-hot-water-tank-pipes

[2] https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-insulation/insulating-tanks-pipes-and-radiators

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