When you are looking to make home energy-efficiency improvements to your home, one common improvement you encounter is water heater insulation. What exactly does insulating a water heater mean? Isn’t the tank already insulated?
To insulate your water heater means to make improvements by adding more insulation to the exterior of the water heater. This can include installing a water heater blanket over the water heater and having all hot water pipes wrapped in insulation.
To answer the second question, not all tank-type water heaters are insulated, depending on their age. Newer models will have a layer of foam insulation to help reduce heat loss transfer. However, even with this insulation, it is not enough to stop all heat loss, so the water still ends up running periodically to maintain the desired hot water temperature.
The primary benefit of water heater insulation is, of course, reducing heat loss transfer. By reducing how much heat is lost from the water heater, it will not use as much energy to maintain the preset water temperature.
Is Installing Water Heater Insulation a DIY Project?
Installing water heater insulation can be a DIY project. You will need to have access to the following:
- Box Cutter/Scissors
- Water Heater Blanket Kit
- Tape Measure
Water heater blanket kits are available at your local home improvement store. They include the insulated blanket, as well as the tape to secure the blanket to the water heater. However, you may want to also pick up some extra tape in case you need it.
The water heater blanket kit also includes detailed instructions on how to measure, cut, and install the blanket on electric and gas water heaters. With electric heaters, you need to make sure to not cover the thermostat, heating element controls, emergency pressure relief drain valve, and the overflow drain tube. With gas water heaters, make sure to not cover the same parts, plus the flue diverter and air vents at the bottom of the tank.
What Type of Water Heater Insulation Kit Do I Need?
Most kits are one-size-fits-all. You do want to measure the height of your water heater as well as its circumference—the circular exterior. Just make sure the kit you select has enough insulation for the measurements you took.
Look for a kit that has an R-value rating of R-10 or higher. The R-value is how well the insulation can prevent heat loss. The higher the R-value, the better the resistance.
How Hard Is It to Insulate Hot Water Pipes?
If you have exposed hot water pipes, it is not that difficult to wrap them using the appropriate water pipe insulation kit. However, since most hot water supply lines can be more difficult to reach, like those that run under the crawl space, in the attic, or the basement, you may want to call your plumber for help insulating hot water pipes.
Water Heater Insulation Preparation Tips
Before installing water heater insulation, it is a good idea to do the following:
- If your water heater is leaking, schedule water heater repair to fix all leaks.
- If your water heater is not leaking, still have your water heater serviced to ensure everything is working correctly.
Once repairs and maintenance are complete, you are all set to install your insulation.
- Bonus Tip: If your water heater is in the garage, consider installing a second insulating blanket for improved efficiency.
For all your water heater repairs and maintenance and help installing water heater insulation and hot water pipe insulation, please feel free to contact MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning at 281-994-6698 today! We service the greater Houston area, including Katy, Cypress, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, and Spring communities.
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