With winter approaching in Northeast Ohio, one of the easiest and least expensive steps you can take to reduce your energy bills is to insulate your water heater. Adding a blanket to it can reduce your standby losses by as much as 45 percent, especially if your water heater has a low level of insulation to start with. The U.S. Department of Energy states that adding water heater insulation can save you from 4 to 9 percent on your utility bill.
Home and garden stores sell the insulating blankets. The blankets enclose the hot water heater and are held in place by tape or straps. Before shopping for a jacket or blanket, note the size in gallons and the height of your water heater. If you want a fully insulated electric water heater, look for a product that insulates the top of the heater as well.
If your hot water heater uses gas, installation is not as straightforward as it is for an electric heater, since gas heaters need venting. You may want the help of an expert for safety considerations. You cannot insulate the top of a gas water heater.
Follow the instructions on the blanket and don’t cover up the thermostat panel for the heater. After you’ve put on your water heater insulation, turn the thermostat down to at least 130 degrees F, to avoid damaging the wiring. You may find greater energy savings by turning it down to 120 degrees, which also reduces the chance of accidental scalding. Lower hot water temperatures also minimize the buildup of hard water scaling in the heater elements, which can make your water harder to heat, costing you more.
If you want to learn more energy-saving tips and ways to save money without sacrificing comfort, contact Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. We’ve been serving the Greater Cleveland area for over 75 years.
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.
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