Families will have been cranking up the heat over the past few weeks as freezing winds, rain and teeth-chattering temperature plunges scoured the UK – leading to soaring energy bills.
But far too few householders are aware of the incredible cost-savings of insulating hot water tanks and pipes, even though it’s simple and cost-effective.
Here, Great British Heating takes you through the basics of this simple yet effective method of keeping cosy and saving cash.
So How Does It Work?
Insulation means creating a barrier between something that is hot and something that is cold by reducing heat transfer by (science bit!) either reflecting thermal radiation or decreasing thermal conduction and convection between them.
By using cylinder jackets and foam tubing to insulate hot water tanks and pipes, householders can reduce the amount of heat they lose. This makes them more efficient -they lose less energy – and therefore reduces energy bills. Newer boilers tend to be sufficiently insulated (but make sure you check).
What Materials Should I Use?
A cylinder jacket is usually made from recycled fibreglass surrounded by a PVC cover.
Insulation for piping tends to be made of polythene or neoprene foam. As ever, seek advice if you’re uncertain what products you need to go with.
Is It Hard?
No, not even a little. A hot water jacket will usually come with specific instructions for your boiler and is usually quick and easy.
Just measure up your hot water cylinder to ensure you get the size and be sure the jacket has the British Standard accreditation, which ensures it is of quality construction and matches safety standards.
Insulating your pipes using foam insulation, known as ‘lagging’, is a bit more involved but if you have even a little skill at DIY it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. You might need a helping hand from a Great British Heating professional if your pipes are particularly hard to reach.
If you’re unsure about anything then please don’t hesitate to contact a professional Great British Heating engineer for advice.
Is It Expensive?
No. Cylinder jackets start at a little over a tenner and pipe lagging is about £5 per metre, depending on the quality of insulation you use and the size of your pipes.
The money you will save on your heating bill will more than cover the expense in the not-so long term. Depending on the property, you can save around £80 a year in power bills. Then of course there is the reduced carbon footprint.
Also consider insulating your home. A better insulated home loses less heat which means don’t need to turn your heating up as high, saving you money.
Simple things you can do to reduce heat loss are insulate your loft, installing double or triple glazing to reduce heat loss through your windows, closing your curtains to stop heat escaping through the glass, and filling in any draughts around window sills, doors or in the floorboards.