Do I Need to Insulate My Water Heater?

Many people want to know if insulating their water heaters will actually save them any money on their energy bills. You can buy a blanket or pre-cut jacket for your water heater for around $20, but before you make that investment, you should determine if it will actually be worthwhile.

You should insulate your water heater if:

  • Your water heater tank has an R-value of less than R-24.
  • Your water heater is hot to the touch.

How much energy and money will insulating my water heater save me?

  • Your standby heat losses will be decreased by about 25%-45%.
  • This reduction in heat loss will save you about 4%-9% in water heating costs each year.
  • The cost of the insulation will be made up for in about a year and then the savings can add up going forward.

If you determine that it will be worthwhile for you to insulate your water heater, you’ll want to make sure you do it correctly, as it is a project that is frequently done wrong. Make sure you leave the top of the water heater open—never block the vent on the top of a gas water heater! Other areas to keep uncovered include: the pressure relief valve, the control panel, bottom air inlets, and warning labels.

While insulating an old water heater can be a very sensible decision, it’s also advisable to consider replacing an inefficient water heater. Most water heaters will last somewhere between 8 to 15 years, so if yours is nearing the end of its lifespan, you might be better off getting a water heater replacement now before it fails. At Rick’s Plumbing, we offer a variety of water heaters, including tankless,  and our New Haven water heater experts would be happy to help you choose an efficient model for your home—just give us a call!