Water heaters are one of the biggest consumers of energy in an average household. When you insulate water heater tanks, the amount of heat loss is decreased so you won’t have to shell out more money in water heating bills and hot water remains hot longer.
Since traditional storage tanks constantly heat water, they actually lose much heat in the process, resulting to poor efficiency and declining energy. Insulating water heater tanks as well as the surrounding water pipes will definitely boost efficiency of the system. You can improve its efficiency by just lowering the heater thermostat—between 55 ºC and 60 ºC and insulating the pipes. It’s highly recommended that you replace your old, inefficient water heaters to a new one to provide you the most savings.
An insulating blanket can lower heat loss by as much as 40% which translates into 4-9 per cent savings on your bill. It only costs roughly $10-20 each and so easy to install. Insulating blankets can be purchased for indirect storage tanks, electric water heaters and fuel-powered storage tanks. It can pay for itself in one year. Local providers may also provide rebates and free installations.
Water tank producers don’t suggest that you insulate new hot water heaters with high energy level since new units have adequate amount of jacket insulation. Extra caution is needed when you are insulating any type of gas-powered water heaters. Additional insulation must not be fixed on top near an exhaust vent or near the air intakes at the bottom.
Types of Insulation
Spiral-wrapped fiberglass insulation. It is one of the most affordable but has the lowest R-value of 1.6 which is not recommended.
Foam insulation. The foam tubes have side-slits so you can conveniently install it over the existing pipes. You can tape some or the entire seams after the installation. Many foam pipes have 3/8” thickness and an R-value of 2 while high profile pipe insulations come with 5/8” thickness and R-value of 4. They can be quite expensive.
Fiberglass pipe cover. It includes a hard fiberglass shell covered in paper with hinges open around the pipe. This has an R-value of 2 and is used when temperature is hot enough to destroy the foam insulation.
Self-sealing foam insulation. A foam tube that is very easy and quick to install since tapes are not necessary to seal openings. When insulation is placed on the pipe, just peel off the plastic strips and the leave the foam tube to seal by itself using the adhesive material. It’s available in R-2 to R-3 values.
Gas-powered Water Heater Tanks
Insulation of gas and oil-powered water heater tanks is harder to install than electric water heater tanks. It’s highly recommended that you let a professional heating contractor do the installation. If you wish to install it yourself, make sure that you have carefully read and followed the instructions. Ensure that ventilation to the burner is not interfered. The thermostat should remain uncovered and never insulate at the top of the gas water heater tank since insulation is highly combustible and may interrupt the draft diverter.
Image by Flickr