The most ignored appliance in many homes is the water heater because it’s tucked out of sight, operates silently and seldom fails. It’s also the second-most hungry appliance in the typical home, using around 20 percent of all energy consumed in a year. Wrapping it with an insulating blanket will cut its energy consumption and prolong its lifetime.
These blankets, found at home improvement centers, cost little compared to the energy savings they offer. Older storage tank water heaters may not have enough insulation wrapped around the tank to prevent the heat from the water from seeping out, and in the winter, those standby losses increase. Consequently, it uses more energy.
Detecting Standby Losses
Place your hand on the outside of the tank. If it feels warm to you, chances are, it lacks insulation. A hand-held infrared digital thermometer will also tell you how much warmer the tank’s shell is than the air temperature.
Selecting a Blanket
Before purchasing an insulating wrap, measure the water heater’s height, circumference and note its size in gallons. Determine whether it’s gas or electric. If yours is gas, you may want to ask a plumber or HVAC technician to install it for you, since gas water heaters have specific requirements for installation that keep them safe.
Installing the Blanket
You can trim an oversize blanket for a precise fit. Follow the directions carefully and make sure you don’t cover the thermostat for the water heater. Turn the thermostat down to 120 degrees to prevent the wiring from overheating.
Lowering the temperature also reduces the amount of dissolved solids that form at the bottom of the tank, which extends its lifetime and reduces scalding injuries. You might want to choose the heat setting on your dishwasher if it has that option to bring the temperature back to 140 degrees when you wash a load.
It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to improve the efficiency of your water heater. If you’d like to learn more, contact Powers Heating & Air, providing HVAC services for Peachtree City homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.
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