Thermal insulation is your best friend when it comes to reducing your electricity bill, and it is also of benefit to the environment. Furthermore, lagging the pipes can also reduce noise radiating from exposed pipework. These are the three principal advantages of pipe insulation and make a strong argument for homeowners to make an effort to insulate the pipes in their home.
If you are reasonably handy and able to reach the pipework in your home, it is not complicated to insulate pipes yourself without hiring a contractor. If not, you’ll find plenty of handymen or plumbers in your area who are capable of completing the job.
What is the most popular material for insulating pipes?
There are several materials used in thermal insulation, so we’ll have a look at the properties of the most widely used:
Elastomeric foam tubing
Elastomeric foam tubing is an insulating material made from synthetic rubber with a closed-cell composition. When buying pipe insulation, you’ll need tubes, but the elastomeric foam is also available to insulate ducts and is sold in a plate shape.
The main benefits of this material for insulating pipes are it has a low thermal conductivity, which means heat transfer proceeds at a lower rate than in materials of high thermal conductivity.
Elastomeric foam tubing is also very flexible, which makes it easy and fast to install.
Foams of this kind used to cover pipes are typically sold in two-metre rolls.
Elastomeric foam helps with condensation control and therefore is a popular choice for machine and boiler rooms.
Polyethylene is a material used in many diverse applications in the packaging, automotive, electrical industries, to name a few. One of the applications of polyethylene is as a pipe insulator to limit heat loss.
Polyethylene has a higher thermal conductivity than elastomeric foam, which makes it a less effective material for insulation. Since it isolates less than other choices on the market, the price is also lower. This material for thermal insulation is sold in units of two meters and is usually a grey colour.
Mineral wool tubing
Glass wool and rock wool are superb insulators. They are extensively used in all types of buildings, from residential to industrial.
This is another material with low thermal conductivity. A feature that makes it a top choice for insulating pipes and fittings in both cold and hot piping installations.
You’ll find wool insulation sold as a bare tube or a tube covered with aluminum foil, which acts as a vapour barrier.
Which should you choose?
Once you know the different materials that are used for the thermal insulation of pipes, you have to go on to choose the one that suits you best.
To make it more straightforward for you to determine the best type of insulation for your pipes, consider the following criteria:
- Conductivity: This is directly linked to the thermic insulation of the material. This quality is necessary to know, as the degree of insulation depends on whether a material has low thermal conductivity.
- Thickness: This property is predominant when choosing pipe insulation. The thicker the tubing, the more it will insulate.
- Working temperature range: This attribute shows the maximum and minimum temperatures which the material can withstand. This is essential to know to prevent the materials from decaying.
- Reaction to fire: The performance of any material used in the household with natural elements is significant. In this case, it is vital to know how an insulating material behaves with fire. It is imperative for safety reasons and compliance with regulations. If unsure about safety, stick with the Armacell brand that produces many lagging products Industry-leading that conform with all building and fire regulations.
Thermal insulation lowers bills
Once you have made a choice on which type of insulation to use, you can get on with installing it, whether you decide to do it yourself or call in a professional. Once wrapped, you’ll already see savings on your next utility bill. Energy savings are notable in a house with good thermal insulation.