Bundling up your water heater storage tank with quality insulation can help you save energy and money. The water heater can account for up to 25 percent of a conventional home’s energy use, and adding a high R-value insulating jacket/blanket can make a significant difference.
Consider these questions and answers when you evaluate the need to insulate your water tank:
- How do I know if I need better insulation? If the storage tank is warm to the touch, energy is being lost through idle heat transference. You will see energy savings if you upgrade the insulation.
- What insulation should I use? Water heaters use two basic kinds of insulation: a one-size-fits-all insulating blanket that wraps around the tank, and a model-specific insulating jacket that slips over the tank.
- What does the R-value mean, and does it matter? The R-value rating for insulation indicates how well it inhibits heat transference. Yes, R-value does matter. A higher rating means greater energy savings. Take regional climate into account: In the Greater Sacramento area, you will maximize energy savings by choosing insulation with a rating of at least R 30.
- Can I do it myself, or should I ask a pro? There are certain safety precautions to follow for installing insulation. For gas water heaters, insulation must be clear from the drain at the bottom and from the flue at the top. Air flow to the burner must not be obstructed, and there should be no insulation on the top of the tank. For electric systems, the temperature needs to be below 130 degrees to prevent wiring overheating. Consulting a certified heating and cooling professional is always a good idea.
There are other ways to reduce the energy consumption of water heater systems:
- Set the thermostat temperature at 120 degrees.
- Install a timer to reduce usage.
- Insulate hot water pipes.
- Consider installing an Energy Star-qualified system.
Following these simple steps is a great place to start for energy savings. If you have questions or would like more energy-saving tips for your entire home, contact All Year Heating, Air & Solar for a fast and free estimate. Proudly serving the Greater Sacramento area since 1969.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.