Insulating pipes

Protecting the pipes around your home can help to keep the heat inside them and stop hot water from cooling down too quickly. Foam tubes that are designed for this purpose are readily available in most hardware shops and can often be bought for less than £10.

The most important pipes to insulate are the ones carrying hot water from your boiler or hot water tank to your hot taps.

You might find hot water pipes:

  • in the airing cupboard, coming out of the hot water tank
  • next to your boiler, and between the boiler and hot water tank
  • behind the bath panel or under the sink in the bathroom and kitchen.

It is also a good idea to insulate pipes that are in cold spaces, for example in the loft or pipes that lead to an outdoor tap. Insulation will help to prevent these pipes from freezing.

The most common type of pipe insulation is semi-split foam tubes. It is available in different diameters, so measure your pipes before you buy anything.

You will need:

  • Pipe insulation
  • Tape measure
  • Cloth and detergent or white spirit
  • Utility knife or saw
  • Cable ties or duct tape

1. Locate the pipes you want to insulate.

2. Turn your heating system off and allow pipes to cool.

3. Clean the pipes with a damp cloth and detergent.

4. Measure the length of the pipe.

5. Cut sections of the foam to the same length using the knife or saw.

6. Feed the foam over the pipe and squash into place. Make sure sections of foam fit together snugly, especially around joints and corners.

7. Secure every 30-60cm with cable ties or tape.