In this new column, one of BEMC’s Energy Insiders will answer your questions about how to save money and energy, and help guide you through the various tools and programs offered by BEMC. This month, Nicky Nance walks us through how to insulate a water heater.
Why consider insulating your water heater? During the winter, a water heater works harder to keep the water at the correct temperature, especially if it is located in a garage or colder room in your home. This DIY insulation project can help reduce standby heat loss up to 45 percent, which translates to potential savings of 7 to 16 percent on your water-heating costs each year.
To determine if your water heater needs to be insulated, touch the tank. If it is warm to the touch, then insulating the tank will be beneficial. Once you decide to tackle this project, visit your local hardware store to pick up the supplies; you will need a water heater insulating blanket, electrical or duct tape, and a sharp utility knife.
- Turn off the water heater
- Measure the height of the water heater and cut the blanket to fit as needed
- Wrap the blanket around the water heater and temporarily tape it
- in place
- Using a marker, mark the areas where the controls are so you can cut space for them
- Install the blanket, carefully lining up the cut out areas, and tape it permanently in place
- Turn the water heater back on
The ideal temperature for your water heater to work efficiently is 120 degrees, but you should never set it above 130 degrees once you have installed the blanket; doing so may cause the wiring to overheat.