The Benefits Of Pipe-lagging And Insulation


Insulating and lagging pipework makes sense on so many levels that it really is a no-brainer. The first and most obvious reason to get pipes lagged – especially for pipes that carry water in the cold winter months – is to prevent freezing.

Many water pipes are sited outside or in unheated locations where the ambient temperature can drop below the freezing point of water. When water freezes it expands and this can cause a pipe system to fail catastrophically.

Although pipe lagging can’t completely prevent water contained within pipework from freezing, it can delay its onset for long enough to ensure that the cold snap passes or remedial action can be taken.

Insulation can also control condensation on the pipe surface. Moisture contributes to corrosion which can eat away at the pipe so its prevention is important. Insulation that incorporates a water-vapour barrier will stop water vapour from passing through the insulation to form on the surface of the pipe.

A third important reason to insulate is safety – to protect people against extreme hot or cold. If the pipework is operating at exceptionally high or low temperatures and someone comes into physical contact with the pipe surface, injuries can easily occur. Pipe insulation can ensure that surface touch temperatures remain within a safe range.

Fourthly, pipe insulation can provide significant energy savings by preventing heat (or cold) loss over longer distances by introducing thermal resistance and reducing heat flow from the pipe to the outside air.

Related to energy saving, a fifth reason for insulation is economy. A well-insulated pipework system will help cut running costs and save on maintenance.

Finally, temperature control is not the only reason to fit pipe insulation. It can also help limit unwanted noise. Pipework can operate as a conduit for sounds to travel from one part of a building to another. Acoustic insulation can prevent this by ‘dampening’ the pipe wall wherever the pipe passes through a fixed wall or floor and wherever the pipe is mechanically fixed.

Of course, the effectiveness of insulation and lagging will depend on the quality of its installation. That’s why it pays to employ a professional like ECEX. We can repair or replace all insulation on site in full compliance with BS 5422:2009 – Method for specifying thermal insulating materials for pipes, tanks, vessels, ductwork and equipment operating within the temperature range -40°C to +700°C.

Materials supplied and installed by ECEX’s highly experienced team of insulation specialists include mineral fibre slab and wrap; phenolic mineral fibre sections; stucco aluminium cladding and valve boxes; VentureClad; PIB rubber sheeting; flexible valve mats, and valve jackets.

For more information about our insulation services, click here.