Boosting Water Heater Insulation Can Save You Energy Dollars

In the average home, a water heater can consume up to 25 percent of the total energy your entire home’s systems use, so taking steps to decrease water-heating costs can make a drastic difference in your utility bills. One way to reduce energy consumption is by boosting water heater insulation.

A traditional storage tank water heater relies on the insulation in its tank to retain heat. However, that means that these types of water heaters must keep a large tank of water at a consistent temperature. If they lose some of the heat in the water, they then have to consume more fuel to heat the water back to the desired temperature. That’s why insulation is such a critical factor.

Newer, high-efficiency water heaters take these energy losses into account, and compensate with highly efficient insulation in the tank. If you don’t have such a system, and your existing system’s insulation is lower than R-24, you can upgrade the tank’s insulation with an insulating blanket or jacket. The R-value of insulation indicates its resistance to heat transfer. 

Here’s a few specifics on insulating blankets and jackets:

  • Select a blanket or jacket with an R-value starting of at least 8 to lock in savings.
  • For electric systems, a blanket or jacket will work. To ensure safety, make sure several locations are accessible by cutting the insulation to fit the tank. The thermostat, in particular, will need to be left uncovered. Also, you’ll run the risk of overheating the system’s wiring if you set the temperature too high; 130 degrees is the maximum advisable setting.
  • Gas-powered systems require more safety considerations, and it’s probably best to have a professional do the job, because of safety hazards with the drain, flue, draft diverter and airflow to the burner.

For both types of systems, adding insulation underneath the system itself also will increase savings by preventing energy loss through the tank;s bottom.

Manage water-heating costs by boosting water heater insulation this year, and you'll see the investment pay off via lower energy bills. For help with all of your home heating and cooling needs, contact local HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) experts Joe Behr Plumbing & Heating, Inc.. Serving homeowners in Mid-Ohio since 1965.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about water heater insulation and other HVAC topics, visit our website.

Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating, Inc. services the Mid-Ohio area. 

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