The plumbing in your loft is generally out of sight and out of mind, but during the colder months, the absence of pipe insulation can remind us of its presence in the most expensive way imaginable. Every year, burst pipes and split water tanks cause tens of thousands of dollars/pounds/euros worth of damage to houses, with families coming back from dream holidays and vacations to find that one of their worst nightmares has come true. Insurance companies unwilling to fulfill any claims because of technicalities may mean that repairing the damage will come at the cost of the homeowner’s life savings.
Fortunately there is one thing you can do which will drastically reduce the chance of this happening to you, and that’s insulate your loft pipework and tanks. Pipe insulation is available for various pipe diameters, and slips around pipes to keep their residual heat in, preventing them from freezing.
If you have any tanks in your loft, such as a cold water storage cistern, a feed and expansion cistern, or a rainwater collection cistern, you can buy special insulating jackets for them. These tend to be made from fibreglass and are made in different sizes for different capacity cisterns, but make sure they will fit the shape of your cistern, depending on whether it is round, square, rectangular, or long and narrow.
Make sure there is no loft insulation underneath any cisterns or tanks in your loft – heat rising from the rooms below will also help to protect them from freezing during the winter. The benefits of insulating them will be felt during the summer too: the insulation will also help to keep the water cool at a time during which the roof space can get very hot.
This simple job can easily be completed within a day – just make sure that it is safe to work in your loft, e.g. that you have a safe way of entering and exiting, and that where you are working is well-lit.
Good luck, and enjoy peace of mind when you are away from home during the colder months!