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The water heater is the second biggest energy user in your home. Help it maintain the correct water temperature by adding extra insulation around the outside of the tank.
By Robin from Washington, IA
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I have heard that if you wrap your hot water heater and pipes leading from it with a blanket it will help save you money. Has anyone tried this? What do you use to wrap the tank and/or pipes?? Thanks.
There is a special insulated 'blanket" that is used to wrap the hot water tank and it saves a ton of electricty (according to the hydro company!) At one time our provincial hydro company sent a man around who put the blanket on for us- can't remember but I"m sure we paid something for the service. There are cut out sections for the controls, etc.
Living in New England it is a "must" that we wrap our hot water heater. The blanket is made from fiberglass and coated in a type of plastic. It fits snugly around the water heater and has its own fasteners. The pipes can be covered with pipe insulation, of which there are different types. The easiest & cheapest type is made of foam and has a slit in one side so you just slip it over the pipe.
The home stores like Lowes or HD sell kits for wrapping water heaters. It is insulation material with a tyvek type coat attached. You wrap the water heater with the coat and seal it with the duct tape enclosed.Putting the foam snap on wrap on your pipes is very helpful. I have that on all my hot water pipes under the house, in the walls and at the water heater connection.It comes in different widths, so measure the length you need of each size. It has a slit so you just slide them on all hot water pipes to keep your investment protected.If you live in a cold climate, insulate the cold water pipes too to keep them from freezing.Cheap protection for peace of mind.Jill
I had considered wrapping mine, since it's in an unheated basement, but the water heater itself has a warning in big, bold letters not to use one. Are they maybe hoping my heating element burns itself out trying to keep the water warm or what?
With modern water heaters, my understanding is that the blanket does not make a big difference unless in extreme conditions (like the folks with the water heater in an unheated garage). Modern one are pretty well insulated. Water heaters that use gas or oil, on the other hand, should not have a wrap - i have seen gas water heaters with the draft tube rotted out from an insulation blanket. Also, must never block air intake on a combustion water heater due to ruinous condensation issues and total loss of efficiency. Pipe insulation seems like a much better bang for the buck and has the advantage of increasing your effective hot water supply.
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Save 4-9% on your water heater bill with an insulation blanket. You can also lower hot water bills by installing a water heater timer that turns hot water off at night and on in the morning.
We just turn our water heater off at the circuit breaker box and I should do it more often.
Also always Turn it off when there is a thunder storm or a power failure as surges can cause fires and lightning seems to be drawn to Water Heaters & Ceiling Fans so turn all of these off when It's stormy & when you are not at home & when power fails. It could save your house from Fire.
These are not Old Wives Tales. The Electrician who installed our ceiling fan told me to turn It off and the Plumber who periodically replaces the element in our water heater due to Lime told me to turn it off. These are folks I listen to.
For that matter unplug your computer & Modem. A friend got her's fried by Ivan because she forgot to unplug the modem. Motherboard go Bye Bye. Not Nice. The Computer Tech who fixed my previous computer (bless those onsite service contracts) told me to unplug my modem and computer when I'm not using it. (10/17/2004)
By Linne Dodds
Another way to say money on energy bills is turning down your water heater. Some people have their water heater turned to the highest setting; this not only costs more but could cause scalds to young children. (11/18/2004)