What is lagging?
Anyone who has read my blog before knows that I recently moved from a one bedroom flat to a three bedroom detached house. I have gone from a flat where most things to do with the building are looked after by someone else, to doing it all myself. Whilst I am absolutely loving it, it has been a steep learning curve. I moved in November 2018, just before one of the coldest winters on record. My heating bills were going to go up anyway after moving from a flat to a house, which I had budgeted for, but I still wanted to make sure I was being as environmentally and bank account balance friendly as possible. This is when I came across the concept of pipe lagging. I had heard of it before but didn’t really know what it was about so I decided to do some research.
Why do I need it?
Not only does pipe lagging save energy, by sealing in heat in your pipes and therefore save you money, but it has many other great uses too. The material that modern pipes are made of is great for transporting hot water around central heating and water systems in homes, but as quickly as those pipes can get hot, when the temperature drops outside, so can the temperature of these pipes. When water freezes and turns to ice it expands and this can cause pipes to burst. The impact on your home and finances of a burst are astronomical. From not having water right through to having to pay for extensive repair work. Imagine if it happened when you were out the house or even away – the costs could be through the roof!
As well as risking a burst pipe, any exposed metal can reach extreme temperatures (high and low) and from a safety angle, it is important that any exposed pipes are properly lagged or covered. Fortunately since the invention of lagging, the number of burns injuries from pipes have drastically decreased.
When a pipe gets cold, it can attract water vapour which in turn condenses and rests on the pipes as condensation. Not only can this lead to pipes being corroded and damage from the outside, but it actively encourages damp within your walls and recesses. Lagging reduces this risk by raising the temperature of the pipe, as well as putting a barrier between any water vapour in the air and the outside of the pipe.
When you first turn the central heating on, do you hear that gurgling of the water in the system? Lagging your pipes puts a kind of sound proof barrier around the pipes, minimising these sounds and noises.
Overall lagging, or insulating as it is also called, your pipes can make a massive difference to your home and your bills.
What is it made of?
Pipe lagging is made of all different kinds of material – the kinds of things you find in any type of home insulation. The list includes but is not exclusive to foams, wools and plastics. Many DIY stores sell a wide range and you can get advice from them or on specialist sites. Some people prefer to buy the tubes of lagging themselves and the cut pieces to then wrap around the pipes, and some people prefer to get a handy man or specialist in – particularly in hard to access areas. What you do is personal choice, but just remember, the cost in the short term will be outweighed to the savings in the long term so before the temperature drops any more, get those pipes lagged!