Lagging

I’m hoping the lagging I did yesterday will make a difference for us. Upon seeing what we had it certainly couldn’t hurt. Lagging is insulating the outside of a pipe.

Our winter problem is that the best and most modernised bathroom is situated on our back balcony which is on the south side of the house. Unlike every other side of the house it is the side that never gets any direct sunlight. So in winter it can get very cold. As water was a new service, which was added to the house after it was originally constructed, we have the water pipes running up the outside of the house before plunging into the house to the taps on a sink, shower, or toilet. The kitchen we are using has water piped from the same wall as the best bathroom.

Most of the time we don’t have a problem. However when the outside temperature reaches -6C or less we find that the pipes freeze and so we don’t have water to either the kitchen or bathroom. This doesn’t happen very often. Maybe three or four times a winter. At least that is what happened last winter. This occurs during the night. The pipes warm up during the morning and by about 11am the water flows as normal.

Looking at the pipes we can see that there wasn’t a lot of insulation on them. A bit at the bottom and a strip wound around the top pipe that was unravelling. I measured the pipe diameter. A quick trip to Bunnings (a local hardware chain) and I returned with 11 lengths of insulation foam pipe. It is coated on the inside with what I think is chalk dust so they can slide onto new pipes as they are being installed. As I was not going to dismantle a water pipe in order to thread the insulation on I cut down the side of the insulation pipe so I could fit them over the water pipes like a skin onto a banana.

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A piece of the insulation showing how I have cut it so it can slip over the water pipe. The inside had a chalky powder.

The whole lagging process went quite well. Once I reached the horizontal pipe I had to climb up onto the low roof as I couldn’t reach it from the ladder. I felt safer there too.

SONY DSCThe water pipe is on the left side. It has about a metre of insulation and then nothing all the way up. The two larger pipes on the right of the tap are drain pipes.

SONY DSCFully lagged

SONY DSCThe horizontal pipe that feeds the hot water service inside the bathroom. Some what insulated with a long thin foam strip held on with a few bits of wire. It is unravelling.

SONY DSCThe pipes now fully lagged.

SONY DSCDetails of the before

SONY DSCDetails of the before

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Details of the after

So the water pipes are now lagged. All we have to do is wait until the next really cold day and see if it makes a difference.

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4 responses to “Lagging

  1. I thought there might be a post about lagging coming shortly. It also has the advantage that if you lag your hot water pipes you’ll use less energy keeping the water at temperature.

  2. We call lagging “wrapping”. Generally pipes in the US are not on the outside of the house, water lines are not even permitted inside of an outside wall, It’s against code. We do wrap hot water lines in the basement to maintain the temperature. Hope your lagging is successful. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  3. Water pipes are not normally placed on the outside walls here too. However Cliftoria was built before there were any codes. So they simply tacked on the services when they arrived in town.
    The other thing is there are not many places in Australia that get sub zero (as in less than 0 Celcius) temperatures. We are far enough from the sea and high enough that we do get quite a few sub zero temperatures at night every winter. Very heavy frosts but no snow because it is so dry. The pipes only freeze with really cold weather (-6C or less), which fortunately happen only a few times each winter.
    Hopefully I have got that problem solved.

  4. Fingers crossed. If its any consolation, we have a gap of maybe 2cm of water pipe in our roof space that isn’t lagged. When it gets to -7, that bit freezes too (although we can avoid that if we keep the house hot enough overnight).

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