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Time to insulate

(2 Posts)
PigletJohn Mon 29-Oct-12 11:36:05

It just struck me that winter is coming...

so this is a good time to think about insulation. For pipes, especially those that run in unheated spaces, not just outdoors, such as lofts and garages, you need the British Standard insulation, which is surprisingly thick. You can get it in one-metre to three-metre lengths, usually in a stiff grey plastic foam, but for outdoor use, exposed to sunlight, you need the black stuff like Armaflex. Best to get some matching tape or plastic cable ties to prevent it gaping or coming loose, especially at bends or elbows. Indoor pipes also need insulation, especially hot pipes, and any pipes that run close to an external wall. The indoor foam is not so thick, because they are less likely to freeze, but use the thickest that will fit. You can cut the foam with a breadknife.

If you have a hot water cylinder, it can lose a lot of heat (= money) if not well insulated. modern ones have a factory-applied stiff coating of plastic foam in blue. If yours is yellow, or it has no foam coating, it needs the additional insulation of a red jacket (my own cylinder has plastic foam and two jackets because there was enough room). Jackets are usually about £10 and quite easy to fit, if you find one with the energy-saving subsidy it will be at about half price. I had a look today and the only subsidised ones i have found so far are at Wickes Insulate the hot pipes around the cylinder and the boiler.

Measure your pipe size befoire you buy it. copper pipes are usually 22mm or 15mm, though large or old heating installations may have some 28mm pipes, especially at the boiler or cylinder.

Loft insulation is also very easy, though dirty, and the rolls are usually subsidised. I very much recommend the ones with Ecose treatment, which prevents them shedding dust and loose fibres of mineral wool. But wear a dust mask anyway because your loft probably already has the old stuff that sheds. Check the websites of your council and your gas and electricity suppliers, because you might be able to get a free or subsidised installation, especially if you are on benefits. I think they are more trustworthy than the cold-callers who knock on your door or ring you.

NirvanahCrane Mon 29-Oct-12 12:59:33

Thank you. I am planning full on renovations in the spring so insulation is not an issue at the moment. I am going so save this thread and refer to it when it IS an issue though.

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