Why You Should Insulate Your Water Heater Tank

When our clients ask whether they should insulate their water heater tanks, Anta Plumbing's master plumbers answer YES! Insulating your water heater is not very complex for someone with moderate DIY experience, and it only takes about an hour and a half to complete, but it can save more up to $45 in energy costs per year.

Most new water tanks are already insulated, while an older tank needs insulation and an R-value of more than 24. If it is not insulated, you could be losing standby heat by 24-45%. However, by insulating the tank, you could reduce those standby heat losses, and up to 9% in water heating costs. Water tank insulation can pay for itself in a year, and it is as easy as fitting the tank with a pre-cut blanket or jacket, which costs only about $20.

How to Insulate Your Water Heater Tank

Before you start the process, check for leaks. If you find a leak, you will need a new water heater tank. Electric water heaters can also be insulated underneath, resulting in an additional 9% of water heating energy saving. Ideally, insulation should be done when you install a new water heater. Follow these step-by-step instructions to install water heater tank insulation:

1. Turn off the device

Electric water heaters should be turned off by the main electric panel. If you have a gas heater, turn it to the pilot position.

2. Size the blanket

If you did not get a precut blanket, you will need to measure the height and cut the material to fit. Leave the top of the heater open so as to not block the vents at the top of your gas unit.

3. Tape it temporarily

To make it easier, wrap the blanket around your water heater tank and use tape to secure it in place temporarily. Position it in such a way that the ends don't come together over the access panels on the side of your tank.

5. Mark an access hole for the controls

Electric water heater units usually have two control panels at the side of the tank, while a gas heater will require an arch to be cut for the burner and gas valves. Mark an area of about an inch around the panels or the burner areas and valves, and the area where the pressure relief pipe and valve are located.

6. Complete the installation

Once you have marked out the areas, cut out the areas and carefully line them up with the different areas on the tank before you permanently tape it in place.

If your electric water heater has an insulating jacket, ensure that you set the thermostat below 130ºF to prevent blank wiring from overheating.

Insulating your water heater tank is a great way to save both your pocket and the environment. This once-off job will result in savings every time you use your water heater. Need help installing a water heater tank insulation jacket? Speak to Anta Plumbing today.

Written by Tanya Klien

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