Pipe lagging decreases heat transfer and condensation. The pipe insulation used on domestic hot water pipes lowers temperature loss between the hot water tank and the tap, and it lessens the amount of time it takes for the hot water to reach the tap. Pipe lagging serves two purposes when installed on refrigerant lines. The insulation lowers the refrigerant’s heat gain and helps eliminate suction line condensation.
Is lagging pipes worth the time and effort?
Insulating your pipes is definitely worth the relatively low cost. The cost is of little importance if you decide to do it yourself, as it won’t be long before you see a return on your investment due to lower utility bills. Fortunately, installing pipe lagging is straightforward, but some factors to think about.
If you are in the process of building a house, seize the moment! During the build is an ideal time to lag your home’s piping completely. If your home has exposed pipes, it makes it even easier to insulate yourself and significantly cut costs.
How to insulate pipes steps
- First, you need to buy pipe lagging with the same inside diameter as the pipe’s outside diameter. Most residential water pipes are either 15mm, 22mm or 28mm pipes. Markings on the pipe’s exterior identify the type and size of the pipe. If you don’t see the size marked on the outside of the pipe, place a rigid ruler on top of the pipe and measure the distance from one side to the next.
- Once you have the lagging, you’ll need to open one end. The slit that runs the insulation’s length usually contains a plastic strip that covers the insulation’s glue.
- Push the open end of the lagging over the pipe. Work the pipe into the insulation through the slit. Repeat this on all straight sections of piping. For any short sections left uncovered, cut the last sections of insulation to length with a serrated knife.
- Once all the straight sections are covered, you can begin to lag the pipe’s fittings. Cut a section of pipe insulation at a 45-degree angle with a serrated knife. Slip the insulation over the pipe near the fitting, with the short end of the 45-degree cut facing the fitting’s neck. Repeat for the second half of the fitting and each additional fitting.
- Next, push the sections of lagging together. The powder found inside the pipe insulation acts as a lubricant, allowing the insulation to slide back and forth easily over the pipe. All ends should firmly touch each other.
- Pull the plastic strip off the glue. Squeeze the insulation’s seam. The glue seals the seam. If the insulation you bought does not use glue, cover the seam with cloth-backed duct tape.
- Lastly, double-check each seam and joint for gaps in the lagging. Fill any gaps with leftover pipe insulation and duct tape.
And that’s it! Some jobs are trickier than others, usually only depending on the location of the pipes. Insulting pipes yourself is not a difficult job, providing the pipework is exposed, and you can reach it. If you have trouble getting to the piping, it might be time to call in a handyman or plumber.