Should you wrap your hot water heater? There’s one easy way to tell – touch it. If it feels hot, it’s losing heat to the outside air and should be insulated for optimum efficiency and performance. Once you’ve determined if you should wrap your hot water heater, how do you do it? Follow these quick and easy steps to learn how to insulate your hot water heater.
1. Determine whether your tank requires insulation. Most modern tanks don’t need extra insulation. If you’re if you should wrap your hot water heater, check the R-value on your tank’s sticker. This number indicates how well the material your tank is made of resists heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better. If the R-value of your heat tank is below 24, you should insulate it.
2. Gather your materials. To insulate your hot water heater, you will need a dust mask, gloves, electrical tape, scissors, and a marker. Some energy companies sell insulation blankets at a low price to encourage people who are unsure if they should wrap the hot water heater. If your energy company doesn’t sell them, your local hardware store should carry an insulating blanket that will fit your hot water tank.
3. Turn off your hot water heater. If you want to know how to insulate an electric water heater, you need to start by moving the circuit breaker to the “off” position. If you’ve got a gas water heater, turn the gas valve to the “pilot” position before you wrap your hot water heater.
4. Wrap the blanket around your tank. If the blanket doesn’t fit your water heater perfectly, you will need to custom fit it yourself – a loose blanket won’t insulate your hot water heater the way it should. Put on your gloves and dust mask and wrap the blanket around the heater, using tape to hold it in place. If you have a gas water heater, do not wrap the top. Rigid insulation or bottom board can save an additional 4% – 9% on your water energy usage if you have an electric water heater.
5. Cut out spaces as needed. If the blanket covers any electric panels, gas valve and burner elements, or the pressure release valve and pipe, use the marker to indicate those spaces on the blanket. Then cut out spaces in the blanket so those parts are left exposed.
6. Tape the insulation in place. When your blanket fits nicely and you’ve finished all the necessary trimming, secure the insulation in place with electrical tape.
Now just wait for your next energy bill! You may notice the savings right away, and insulting almost always pays for itself after a year. If you have questions about insulating your hot water heater, contact Newcomb and Company. We’ll help you determine whether your tank could use additional insulation.