Hold on to that Heat with a Hot Water Heater "Blanket"

By Adam Eisman, GREENandSAVE.com
Posted on Sunday 8th March 2009

Hot water heaters use a lot of energy.  In order for a home to continuously have water at a high enough temperature, the water heater must work constantly to keep the water at whatever temperature the heater is set to.  This is akin to keeping a boiling pot of water on the stove all day just in case you may want spaghetti later.  It just doesn’t make sense.

Hot Water Heaters without Blankets may be emitting heat around the clock, causing the water heater to work harder, and longer.  Newer heaters have relatively high insulation, so to see if an Insulation Blanket is necessary, just put your hand on the outside of the heater. If it feels warm, it is possible to save money by wrapping it.

The water in the tank is heated up to 140 degrees, and if it is in the basement or garage, the surrounding temperature in the winter is probably around 60 degrees. This 80 degree difference creates heat loss, and the blanket can save 10% or more depending on the quality of the tank, accounting for savings of $8.35 over each month of the winter.

Water heating accounts for roughly 19% of a home energy bill. The majority of homes in the United States have gas water heaters, but almost 40% use doubly expensive electric systems. The water heating 'system' will be made more efficient by not only wrapping the tank with an insulating jacket, but also insulating hot water pipes.  It may also help to consider installing timer controls that switch off the heater while the house is not occupied, like during work hours or on a vacation, or while everyone is asleep.  Also, add anti-convection valves and loops and turn the temperature down from 140 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less.

The ROI Calculation is based on the 'Blanket' with other measures adding to the savings. The blankets typically range from $25 up to $80, and the more expensive ones typically have higher insulation values for even more savings.

Important Tip: Resetting your Water Heater to a lower setting, such as 120° or the 'warm' or 'hot' mode vs. 'hotter',  you can save 5 to 10% on your bills and with households spending $400 each year - that’s a $30 savings. If there are no degree settings go just below the 'middle' level on the dials and test it out.  

GREENandSAVE.com is a free resource for anyone that wants to save energy, money, and the environment. The articles, product reviews, online tools, and return on investment calculations are researched from a diverse range of public and private sector sources. Overall, the company is passionate about saving money as well as creating healthy homes, offices, and lifestyles.

For more information, check out GREENandSAVE.com’s take on Hot Water Heater Blankets.  Or, for a better idea of what projects will be cost-efficient in the long run, take a look at their Return on Investment Table for Green Home Remodeling Projects.

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