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How to save energy by insulating your water heater

Updated on August 12, 2012

Hot water heaters are a staple in almost every home in America, its
energy needed to power the hot water that people use to do everything
from washing dishes to keeping your body sanitary in the shower and
sinks. After heating and cooling costs, water heaters make up 20% of
the energy usage in a home. In most homes this heater is located I'm
either a basement, closet or garage, and in many cases it's exterior
and piping aren't insulated. This is where you have an opportunity to
do this yourself, as you don't need a professional contractor to
install this slightly tedious project, and in long term savings you
could accomplish an almost 35% decrease in energy costs from this
simple installation.

To find the materials for such a venture, you need not go further than
your local hardware store, but before you make the trip, take the time
to locate the gallon capacity of your hot water heater. When in the
store, find a customer service represenative to help you locate a
water heater insulation kit, tape measure, duct tape, and a utility
knife, but make sure when choosing your insulation wrap you use a R-8
or better insulating value. After you acquire your materials, head
back to your home and follow these simple instructions for your energy
saving project.


1). Install insulation around piping exiting the top of the tape (Do
not insulate water heater itself with the material).

2). Wrap insulation blanket around the tank, using the duct tape and
knife, tighten around the cylinder, remembering not to cover the
access panel in the process (The blanket when tapes and belts are
wrapped shouldn't tighten beyond 18% of it's thickness).

3). Cut blanket around pressure relief valve and overflow piping (Keep
blanket away from drain at the bottom and the flue at top).

(For gas powered water heaters, follow steps above but make sure
burner and thermostat are uninstructed).

Keep in mind that these are basic instructions but your local hardware
store can you a better idea of exact proportions and the like. To
further save on energy usage, you can reduce the water temperature to
123 degrees to slow mineral build and prevent excessive corrosion.
For every 10 degree reduction, you can save an additional 3-5% in
energy use, thereby helping you save a little money while still
feeling good about the positive change you've made in your community
through environmental production.


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    • BakerRambles profile image

      BakerRambles 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Well said

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      Insulating your hot water heater, especially if it is standing in a cold garage or basement, is an excellent and easy way to save money!