Insulating tanks, pipes and radiators - Energy Saving Trust

Insulating your water tank and radiators is a quick and easy way to save money on your bills.

Insulating behind your radiators helps keep your home warmer and insulating a hot water tank helps keep the water hotter for longer. Isolante Tubi

Insulating tanks, pipes and radiators - Energy Saving Trust

If you’re trying to save money on your heating bills and reduce your energy consumption, radiator reflector panels are an attractive low-cost option.

Fixed behind your radiators, they reflect heat from the radiator back into the room, instead of letting the heat out through an external wall. They can produce the most benefit when installed on uninsulated solid walls.

Remember, you only need to put reflector panels behind radiators on external walls.

Lagging water tanks reduces the amount of heat lost through the tank, so you spend less money heating water up, and hot water stays hotter for longer.

A hot water cylinder jacket costs about £20, and fitting it is a straightforward job if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Insulating your hot water cylinder is one of the easiest ways to save energy and, therefore, money.

If you already have a jacket fitted around your tank, check the thickness. It should be at least 80mm thick; if it isn’t, consider buying a new one.

Topping up your hot water tank insulation from 25mm to 80mm thick, using a British Standard jacket, could save you around £50 (£45 in NI) a year, which is more than the cost of the jacket.

Our homes have a combination of indoor and outdoor pipes that transfer water in, out and around our house.  

You’ll have at least one outdoor pipe that connects you to the main water supply. If you have a boiler, you’ll likely have a condensate waste pipe. This pipe transfers a small amount of wastewater from your boiler to the drains outside.  

During winter your pipes, especially those outdoors, will be exposed to cold temperatures. If the temperature goes below zero, your pipes are at risk of freezing. This can make them crack or burst, resulting in no water or heating in your home and expensive repair bills.  

To reduce this risk, insulate your pipes to help stop them from freezing. 

You may also have pipes in uninsulated areas like your loft, basement or garage. These are important to insulate too, as those could also be exposed to low temperatures.  

Your other exposed indoor pipes transfer hot water around your home, so pipe insulation helps reduce heat loss from the pipes. This can save you around £6 (£6 in NI) a year on your energy bills.* 

* Savings based on fuel prices as of January 2024 for a typical gas heated (oil heated for NI) three-bedroom semi-detached house.  

If your pipes are easy for you to get to, you can insulate them yourself. You can buy the materials from most DIY shops.  

The insulation is normally tube-shaped, which you can cut to size and wrap it around the pipes.  

Pipe insulation is made from different materials, including: 

Polyethylene and rubber pipe insulation do a similar job. Insulated foil tape can fit easily around bends and joins, so it’s useful for more complex piping.  

There are different insulation thicknesses you can buy. For the best results, choose the thickest insulation that will fit around your pipe. You’ll also need to consider the bore size, which is the width of the holes cut into the center of the insulation tubes. Make sure the insulation fits into the spaces around the pipes and bends. 

If you have any outdoor taps, you can buy insulated tap covers to protect those too. 

It’s useful to ask for advice from a DIY shop representative and follow any instructions on the product.  

For pipe insulation, measure the length of insulation you need first and then cut it to size. For any bends, you can either cut notches into the insulation to curve it around the bend or you can connect two pieces together to cover the bend.  

To make sure the insulation is effective at protecting the pipes from freezing temperatures, secure and seal each end of the insulation with tape. Sometimes pipe insulation materials come with adhesive lining to help you stick the sides together once you’ve wrapped it around the pipe. 

Before insulating hot pipes, make sure you turn off your heating and hot water so you don’t burn yourself on the pipes.

Blocking the unwanted gaps in your home can save you money on your energy bills.

Insulating your ground floor is a great way to keep your property warm, as well as lower your energy bills and emissions.

Insulating your roof, attic or loft is an easy way to save money on your bills, keeping the heat in and the…

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Insulating tanks, pipes and radiators - Energy Saving Trust

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