Should I Insulate My Water Heater?

Your water heater is on-call day and night. If it's not properly insulated, then the appliance is wasting a tremendous amount of energy.

Here's how to determine if your water heater could benefit from insulation.

The Advantages of Water Heater Insulation

Insulation helps your water heater maintain a consistent internal temperature. This reduces standby heat losses by up to 45 percent, slashing annual operating costs by about 16 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. By these measures, the cost of insulating your water heater will easily pay for itself within a year.

Assessing Your Water Heater's Need

Not all water heaters need insulation. Here's an easy way to determine if yours does: Simply touch the appliance. If your tank is warm, then it probably needs an extra layer. This is more common with older units.

Types of Insulation

When picking the right insulation blanket, take the following into account:

  • The insulation’s R-value: This is the measure of resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more the material helps retain heat. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends and R-Value of 8 for water heaters. However, the R-value of insulation blankets goes as high as 11.

  • The unit's location: If the appliance is located inside where it’s relatively warm to the outside temperature, you can use a lower R-value. However, if the appliance is in the garage where there is little difference between the inside and outside temperature, go ahead and bundle up your water heater in higher R-value.

By considering these factors, you can pick the right insulation blanket to get the job done. Wrapping your water heater in an insulation blanket is a fairly easy DIY job, and it can yield real benefits for older, less efficient water heaters.

Bottom line: Keep in mind, if your water heater is 15 years old or older and requires frequent repairs, an insulating blanket will do little good. You’d be better off replacing the appliance. Today’s water heaters are significantly more efficient, helping you save money in the long run. To schedule an appointment with High 5 Plumbing (720) 330-4868.

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