Pipe insulation is essential. But unless you are in the plumbing or work for a building company, you probably don’t know how important it is. You might not even be entirely sure what it is or looks like.
Pipe insulation, or pipe lagging, is a tube of material that fits around your plumbing. Some are quite like the ‘noodle’ floats you can find at a swimming pool or the seaside.
Typically, it is made from foam or other insulating material and comes in various lengths to suit the length of your pipes.
Pipe insulation work can be done by yourself or a professional, and if you go the DIY route, pipe insulation and pipe lagging materials should be sourced from a reputable supplier.
Prevents Heat Loss
Heat loss or gain occurs when the liquid within a pipe is hotter or colder than the surrounding ambient temperature. Loss of heat through uninsulated pipes equates to a loss of energy which means the system which contains those pipes (your home heating system, for example) is not running at maximum efficiency. If the system is not efficient, then your electricity use will be higher, which means an increase in Carbon dioxide emissions.
Many factors can contribute to heat loss, like the pipe material and thickness, the thickness and type of the pipe insulation, the ambient temperature, etc.
Exposed pipes, especially those containing extremely hot liquid, pose a safety hazard in the home. If the surface of a pipe isn’t covered, a person could get a bad burn or scald.
If you have kids, your level of concern for anything that could be potentially harmful for children increases drastically, especially with babies and young children, and making sure you have no potentially dangerous exposed pipes is a must.
Pipes freezing and then bursting will be a disaster in any situation. If your pipes are not properly insulated and the water inside freezes, it will make the pipe expand. This expansion will cause the pipes to crack or burst, resulting in flooding.
The best way to prevent freezing is by having adequate pipe insulation, which will help maintain the fluid temperature inside the pipes.
Prevents Water Damage
Pipes which are not insulated may be prone to sweating. Sweating, which is water vapour that condenses on the surface of the pipe, can lead to erosion which weakens the pipe. Because of this, the pipe may burst or leak and end up doing considerable water damage.
Having the correct insulation helps prevent sweating from taking place
The only reason saving money is not top of this list is because some of the reasons outlined above contribute to this.
By preventing heat loss, you save money by not wasting energy or electricity.
By insulating your pipes correctly, you are minimising the chance of having to experience the often-costly burst pipes and flooding or water damage.
As we have seen, there are several reasons why pipe insulation is important. Aside from the practical health and safety aspects, the protection against scalding, for example, there is also the reduced cost and environmental impact to consider.
Pipe insulation will save you money in the long run and reduce your environmental impact. It will reduce energy loss and energy consumption, saving you on electric bills. It may also prevent any future problems from frozen pipes and water damage.
All in all, it makes sound sense to keep your pipes insulated.