Maintaining thermal efficiency around pipework

Dean Heathfield, Commercial Director of Talon, explains how pipe seals and grommets can help housebuilders and developers maintain the thermal efficiency around pipework penetrations and comply with Part L of the Building Regulations.

In response to the urgent need for energy efficiency and sustainability, building standards and regulations have become more tighter over time. The Future Homes Standard, for instance, is a set of policies and regulations aimed at significantly improving the energy efficiency of new homes, with the goal of them being future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency by 2025. It is an initiative that is part of the UK’s broader commitment to reduce carbon emissions and improve the environmental sustainability of housing and homes built under this standard are expected to have 75 to 80% lower carbon emissions compared to those built under current regulations.

Within this framework, pipe seals and grommets play a crucial role. Changes to Part L of the Building Regulations, which are steps towards achieving the Future Homes Standard, have made the use of pipe seals and grommets mandatory for new constructions. This mandate is designed to ensure that buildings are more airtight by preventing warm air from escaping and cold air from entering through gaps around pipes. This is essential, since any gaps can lead to heat loss, reduced energy efficiency and the potential for water ingress and pests, which can damage the building.

The use of pipe seals and grommets replaces the older and less efficient methods of sealing pipe penetrations with mortar or sealant, which could weather, perish and crack over time. This shift not only aims to improve energy efficiency but also to provide a cleaner and more professional finish around pipework. This sealing standard applies to sealing around both pipes and flues exiting the wall and those working on pre-existing structures are also required to comply with these new standards when fitting pipes or any related services. Additionally, the new Part L regulations require installers to provide photographic evidence of compliance, which helps building control officers verify that the work has been carried out to the designated standard.

 PipeSnug and FlueSnug are the only all-in-one solutions that help builders and developers meet the updated Part L of the Building Regulations and the Future Homes Standard’s requirements for energy efficiency and airtightness. PipeSnug is used to seal around pipes that penetrate the walls of buildings, providing an airtight seal so builders can quickly and easily ensure that these penetrations do not compromise the building’s thermal envelope. FlueSnug performs a similar function for boiler flues: it creates an airtight seal where the boiler flue penetrates external walls. The product’s design allows for it to be easily fitted around the flue, from the inside of the property, which simplifies the process of flue installation and maintenance, as it can be easily removed and replaced if the flue needs to be serviced. It also negates the need for ladders, scaffolding or cherry pickers so improves health and safety and on site. 

Both products can be installed in seconds, saving on labour and eliminating the need for additional materials like mortar or silicone, preventing heat loss, drafts, damp and pest infiltration. Unlike traditional sealing methods that can degrade over time, these products are UV resistant, offering long-term durability against weathering. They ensure the building remains airtight and provide a neat, professional finish, enhancing the overall aesthetics of the building work. FlueSnug is approved by major boiler manufacturers including Baxi, Ideal Heating, Worcester Bosch and ATAG Heating Technology UK.

Used inside and outside, PipeSnug and FlueSnug address any damage to bricks that might occur during the pipe installation and also safeguard the structure of the building from the elements and shield pipes from the rough edges of bricks. These features are key in maintaining heat within the home, thus contributing to lower heating costs for residents and a reduction in the carbon footprint of dwellings. The ease of identifying these products also means it is easy to demonstrate adherence to new regulations through photos to Building Control officers – as they do not require the use of additional tapes or sealants, the verification process is simple.

Housebuilders balancing cost and quality navigate an evolving landscape shaped by the UK’s net-zero carbon emissions goal and the Future Homes Standard. But solutions like PipeSnug and FlueSnug which enhance airtightness and energy efficiency, play a vital role in the UK’s sustainable housing future. They simplify installation, ensure long-term durability and are easily verifiable, aligning builder practices with environmental objectives.