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How to lag your pipes

We recommend you wrap your pipes up ready for winter. Not doing so could cause you to be caught out and have no water on a cold winter’s morning or cause damage to your home.

Lagging Your Pipes

Lagging simply means wrapping your water pipes in insulation to help delay the start of freezing. It’s easy and fairly cheap to do. It something that, with a little bit of knowledge, you can do yourself.

We get reports of customers frozen pipes every year, in 2018 we received over 2,000 calls about this. Generally speaking, we, the water company, own the pipes up to your externally stop tap (generally close to the boundary of your property) you own the rest. Therefore, if there is a burst or leak on your side it is your responsibility to fix it. Did you know that 25% of leaks are on the customer’s side of the boundary? We recommend you wrap your pipes up ready for winter. Not doing so could cause you to be caught out and have no water on a cold winter’s morning or cause damage to your home.

You need to do this in advance of the winter weather and it can take anywhere from a couple of hours to half a day, depending on how many exposed water pipes you have in your home or how many times you stop for a cup of tea.

If you can, we recommend you watch the above video to show you how to lag your pipes. If this isn’t available to you please follow the steps below.

Watch this video to learn how to lag your pipes.

Step by Step: How to lag your pipes

Step 1
Check how much pipe you have that needs lagging.

You will need to check in the roof of your home and any outside pipes. Pipes may be close to any appliance that uses water such as your washing machine, boiler, or dishwasher. You will also need to check any out buildings such as a garage for pipes as these can easily freeze. Hot, cold and heating pipes will need to be lagged so ensure you measure for all.

Step 2
Get your equipment together

Once you know how much lagging you will need pop down to your local DIY shop and buy the following.

Pipe Lagging (about £2 a meter)

This is long foam tubes with a hollow middle. It is available in most DIY shops and is available in different widths; you will need the appropriate size for your pipes.

Insulation Tape (£2 - £3 a roll)

This is also available in most DIY shops. Duct tape is a commonly known version of this.

Scissors, saw or knife (About £3)

You will need to fit the lagging to fit angles around your pipes.

Outside Tap cover (from £4)

This insulates your outside tap which can also freeze. These are also available at local DIY stores. You should also consider isolating the outside tap and draining it.

If you have a water tank you will also need to buy an insulation jacket and install this around all sides of the tank. Do not apply to the bottom of the tank as you need to warmth of the home to stop the tank freezing.

Step 3
Fit your lagging

Cut your lagging to the appropriate size. If there is a bend in your pipe you will need to cut the end of your lagging at a 45° to fit. Please see diagram below.
To fit your lagging run your finger down the slit in the side, this will open it up. You can then slot the lagging around your pipe. The 45° will allow you to fit it snuggly around any bends. Once you have done this you will need to wrap any joins of lagging with the insulation tape.
If you have a water tank you can fit your insulation jacket by wrapping it around your tank and tapping any joins together.

Step 4
Sit back and relax

You may want to consider ensuring you have the number for a local plumber available just in case, go to www.watersafe.org.uk to find approved plumbers. If you are going away for a short period consider putting a timing on your heating so it comes on for a short period every day. If you are going away for longer then consider turning of your water supply and draining the system. You will need to locate your stop tap to turn off your water, click here for details on how to do this.

In 2018, during the Beast from the East, we had over 250 burst mains in our area. Most customer were back in water within the hour and most mains were fixed within 3 hours. Bearing this in mind it is a good idea to plan for the possibility of being without mains water during the winter months. Click here to find out what you can do.