Should You Insulate Your Water Heater?

If you’re like most homeowners, you look for every way to squeeze as much efficiency out of your energy-hungry appliances. Your water heater is second only to your central heating and cooling system as your home’s biggest electricity consumer, so it makes sense to explore ways to scale back on your hot water costs.

Wrapping an insulation blanket around your water heater makes sense. After all, a water heater losses energy as it keeps hot water on standby. Insulation would help minimize standby losses.

However, adding a layer of insulation to your water heater isn’t always wise.

Extra Insulation Isn’t Necessary for New Water Heaters

Today’s water heaters are manufactured with adequate foam insulation around the tank. Adding more insulation could cause the unit to overheat, tripping the TPR valve. That’s the temperature and pressure relief valve, a safety mechanism that activates when the temperature rises to 210 degrees or the pressure exceeds 150 pounds per square inch. When that happens, the TPR valve discharges hot water to prevent the water heater from exploding.

Here’s How to Tell if Your Water Heater Could Benefit From Extra Insulation

Chances are good that your older model water heater has enough insulation. To be sure, check the owner’s manual. The unit should have an R-value of 24. If it doesn’t, go ahead and wrap up the heater.

But there’s an even easier way to tell: touch the tank. If it’s warm to the touch, it’s a candidate for an insulation blanket.

Wrap it up and you can slash your annual water heating bill by as much as 16%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Other Ways to Save on Water Heating Costs

  • Install heat traps: Heat traps are small inexpensive loops that will prevent heat loss through the hot and cold water inlet pipes. They’re standard on most new water heaters, but your older model could benefit.

  • Flush the tank: Sediment builds up on the heating elements inside the tank, reducing efficiency. Flush your water heater every year to keep your water heater operating efficiently. (This service is included in our Customer Care Agreement.)

For all of your plumbing needs, turn to your friendly neighborhood plumbers at Plumb Doctor. Call (770) 293-7080 to schedule your appointment.