Cost and Benefits of Pipe Insulation

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    Oct 21, 2013
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As hot water travels through your pipes, some of the energy is lost. When the pipes get hot, you are losing some of the heat energy and you end up paying more than you need to for hot water in the long run. Fortunately, there is a fairly easy solution that won’t cost a lot of money to implement and which can save you quite a few pounds in the long run. Pipe insulation protects your hot water system from losing heat energy, containing the heat to the inside of the pipes. When you have your hot water tank and pipes insulated, you can conserve even more heat. Here are the basics about how much it costs to implement piping insulation and what it can save you in the long run.

Pipes to Cover

Obviously, it’s not realistic or cost effective to try and insulate your entire hot water piping system. Most of your pipes run within your walls and some are also under ground, often beneath slabs of concrete. However, the pipes that run between the hot water cylinder and the boiler are usually exposed. Any hot water lines that are in your cellar or near the hot water cylinder can and should be insulated. These pipes are closest to the source of your hot water, and protecting them will make a difference in your energy use, even if the other pipes remain without insulation. If you want to install insulated pipes throughout more of your home, it’s time to contact a professional and get an estimate for a plumber to do the job. This will increase your costs, but also improve your overall savings.

Total Cost For Installation

Pipe insulation is usually a do it yourself job, which is good for your pocketbook. You won’t have to pay a professional to inspect the pipes or install the foam, you just need to make a trip to a home improvement store and buy the insulation. The cost of the insulation will depend on the length and thickness that you need. Generally speaking, you can count on an expense of about 10 pounds for the insulation. Foam insulation can be slid onto your pipes, so there is no need for adhesives or sealants. It can be applied in just a few minutes, making it an easy task even for amateurs.

Overall Savings

With an initial investment of about 10 pounds for the cost of pipe insulation, you can see about a 15 pound per year savings in an average size three-bedroom home. This means your insulation will more than pay for itself within a single year of use. In addition to saving on water heating energy bills, you can also expect to conserve about 60kg of carbon dioxide in one year of use. If you want to cover the hot water cylinder just next to your pipes as well, the initial investment for insulation is about 15 pounds, and you may save as much as 45 pounds per year on energy costs.

Other Considerations

Make sure that you get the correct length of insulation for the pipes to be covered, as well as the appropriate thickness. Generally speaking, skinnier pipes need a thicker layer of foam insulation. When in doubt, ask a plumber or store associate about the proper thickness for your pipes’ diameter. If the insulation is not thick enough, it can’t properly contain the heat and you will still lose some energy unnecessarily. Insulation also protects cold water pipes against freezing in the winter months. Again, if the insulation is not thick enough it can’t do its job. Your pipes may still freeze when the temperature gets too cold.

Pipe insulation is a quick and easy project if you only apply the insulation to exposed pipes. With a very small investment, you are adding value to your home and reducing your utility bill for the long term. You may also help prevent breaking pipes due to extreme temperature fluctuations, which in turn reduces your repair and replacement costs. If you’re unsure about where to get insulation or which brand to use, take a look at the list of recommended products from the UK Energy Savings Trust.

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Sam Jones suggests that pipe insulation is one way of fighting rising energy costs

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