Water Heater Insulation Blankets, are they worth it?

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With recent increases in energy costs and rising fuel costs, homeowners are becoming more energy conscious. After market water heater blankets are sometimes considered an option for energy conservation. These blankets are designed to wrap around the water heater to provide an extra layer of insulation against heat loss, but many experts argue that heat loss in a gas water heater is due primarily to the un-insulated flue.

The flue runs up the middle of the water heater and is used to transfer heat from the burnt gas into the water and exhaust the burnt gas out of the water heater. Because the flue is not insulated like the outside of a water heater, heat is lost very quickly out the flue.

All gas and electric water heaters are insulated with either 1” of foam (R-Value of approximately 8) or 2” of foam (R-Value of approximately 16) to meet ASHRAE standards for performance, efficiency and stand-by loss when tested to the Department of Energy procedures.

Some local codes and utility company regulations may prohibit insulation blankets. Too often, the Do-It-Yourselfer has good intentions but unknowingly creates some hazards by:albuquerque plumber

  • Covering safety warnings and operating instructions (these labels are not to be removed from the heater and placed on the blanket or elsewhere).
  • Covering controls, access areas, shut-off devices, temperature and pressure relief valves, etc.
  • Blocking air passages required for combustion or draft resulting in unsafe operation.

So how do you make your water heater more energy efficient? 

One way is to install an energy star rated water heater. There are various options:

  • Standard Atmospheric Vent Water Heater
  • Power Vent Water Heater
  • Tankless Water heater

All of these heaters have features built in to reduce energy consumption enough to meet or exceed Energy Star EF requirements.