Should I Insulate My Water Heater Tank?

A-1 Sewer & Septic Service, Inc.If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably put some thought into the insulation in your walls and roof. What about your hot water tank, can insulation help you save energy and money there too? The short answer is yes, absolutely.

You already know that it’s smart to insulate your walls and roof, and the same goes for your hot water tank. Insulating your water heater is a simple and inexpensive way to save money each month, all the while improving energy efficiency.

If you have a brand new water tank, it’s probably insulated. On the other hand, if you have an older unit, you’ll want to check to see if it has an insulation with an R-value of at least 24.

If it doesn’t, we suggest insulating the water tank. By doing so, you could easily reduce the standby heat loss by as much as 45%, and you can save as much as 9% on your water heating costs.

Once you properly insulate the tank, it should pay for itself in about a year. If you’re not sure of your water tank’s R-value, all you have to do is touch it. If the tank is warm to the touch – that means that it could use additional insulation.

Before Getting Started

  • Make sure that the water heater isn’t leaking. If the tank is leaking, you likely need a new water heater.
  • Check with your local utility company and find out if they offer rebates or insulating blankets at low prices. Some utility companies will install them at low or no cost.
  • If you have an electric water heater, you may want to consider insulating underneath the tank as well as around it. A good piece of insulation or a bottom board helps to prevent heat loss into the floor, and it can save you another 4%-9% of water heating energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. However, the ideal time to do this is when you’re installing a new water heater.

If you decide to do this yourself and you have an electric heater, don’t forget to turn off the breaker at the electrical panel. If you have a gas heater, turn the gas valve into the “pilot” position.

When you turn the water heater back on, don’t set the thermostat above 130°F for an electric water heater with an insulating blanket or jacket, otherwise, the wiring could overheat.

Looking for a Kansas City plumber?

If you’re interested in having your water heater inspected for energy efficiency, or if you don’t want to handle this project alone, contact a Kansas City plumber at A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc.!

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