Many of us are running around lagging external pipe work at the moment, what with this cold snap. Always a good idea as it is an unpleasant surprise to find water gushing everywhere when the thaw comes, especially if you are on a meter.
Lagging, though, is also really important inside the home as well.
Hot water pipes run all across the home and they are losing heat all the time when you really want all that hot water in your sink / bath / shower. This applies to all months of the year. Lagging therefore helps to get hotter water where you need it.
Not only this is useful about lagging. As the water in the pipes cool down quickly, when we want more hot water in the sink soon after someone else has used it, we generally faced with now tepid water coming through. So we have to let all that tepid water out and wait for the newly heated water to come through again. This is especially so with combi boilers. So all the energy that has gone into the hot water is just lost to the atmosphere. This is a real waste. So lagging the hot water pipes helps to slow down heat loss and so you should find that you can now use that hot water in the system rather than having to wait for the freshly heated water to come through.
This is a saving not only in expense and carbon but also in water. With water set to become a more precious resource (even though last year was almost the wettest on record, it also had the driest winter and spring with a hosepipe ban in lots of areas) it is important that we use it wisely.
If you are lagging your hot water pipes, you might also want to think about the cold ones in high humidity areas like bathrooms. Cold pipes attract condensation and this can lead to a series of issues depending on your particular circumstance. Carpets might get dripped on and start to get mouldy and rot, tiles might get slippery when wet etc. So bear this is mind if you do get the lagging bug!
Lagging is a relatively cheap process, but can be awkward to fit, so we would recommend lagging pipes that you can see and then trying to remember to get hidden pipework done when you are having improvements made. It is a simple, effective and cheap solution to help us do our bit, but it is so commonly overlooked.
Plumbers should really lag all new pipework, but in refurbishments it rarely happens, so mention it to your plumber next time you see him / her and see if we can spread the message about the importance of lagging pipes.