Boxing-in pipework is a great way to save money on your heating bills, while hiding unsightly heating and water pipes.
This boxing-in itself will not save you any money, but the fact that the boxing can hide otherwise unsightly pipe insulation means that there need not be a single pipe in your house that’s emitting wasted heat. This makes your home more energy efficient, while reducing your heating bills.
We have a whole project on How to Save Money on Heating in the Projects section of the website.
While we don’t really think about the heating costs of our home during the summer, it is a good time to be preparing for the cooler months, because the pipes are not hot, and you can work in relative comfort in spaces that can be decidedly chilly in the winter (such as in the loft). Also, you are losing some heat from your hot water pipes, even in the summer, so you might as well not heat your home with these pipes. If you keep the water in the pipes insulated it will stay warmer, so you don’t have to run it as long to get the hot water you need from the tap.
Our mathematical boffins have been hard at work calculating how much heat you might be losing from your pipes alone. The results, we think you will agree, are quite amazing.
The usual quantity of copper pipe in an average three-bedroom house is approximately 60m of 15mm pipe and 30m of 22mm pipe. Some of this obviously carries gas to the boiler, but the majority of it carries hot water. Add this to the 30m or so of copper pipe used for running hot water all over the house, and you have over 100m of hot water pipe in your home. This is losing heat every time hot water is called for, either by the heating system or the hot taps. The hot water cylinder is always lagged, why not the pipes? There is a lot of heat going to waste in this way.
Let’s say the average diameter of all the pipework is 17mm and we have 100m of it. This means that the surface area of unlagged pipework is:-
2πr x 0.017m x 100m = 1.7 square m
This is the equivalent of a radiator 1.7 m long sending heat into (mostly) unwanted places!
See our project page on boxing-in pipes then look at the following products as an illustration of what is available to help you insulate your pipes and save money on your heating bills.