Thursday, November 20, 2008

Water Heater Savings

Last week Matt and I took another step to decreasing our heating bills this winter; we installed a water heater blanket. I purchased the blanket on sale for less than $10 and Matt installed it in less than ten minutes. You can even make your own blanket if you’re up for it, all you need is a roll of duct tape and some faced fiberglass insulation. By adding insulation you can reduce your heat loss by 25% - 45% which saves about 4%-9% in water heating cost.

The steps to installing a water heater blanket are pretty basic:
~ Wrap the insulation horizontally around the unit using duct tape to seal the seams
~ Make sure to leave cutouts for the thermostat, controls and drain faucets
~ Tape any remaining joints and seams where air can escape
~ If your water heater is electric make sure to cut a cap of insulation to fit the top as well and provide slits for the water inlet and outlet piping.
~ If your heater is gas, do not cover the burner access of the flue collar.

Make sure and read any extra instructions included with your blanket.
Not sure if your water heater needs additional insulation, finding out is easy. Just touch it, if the tank is warm it needs insulation.

To find out more about insulating your water heater visit the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website (EERE)

And if you want to save even more money; try turning down the thermostat on your water heater. For every 10º F you reduce your temperature you could save anywhere from 3% to 5% in energy cost. You can safely reduce your water temperature to 120º F while still killing germs and bacteria.

There are also other benefits to reducing your water temperature to 120º F. The EERE states a reduced temperature of 120º F will slow mineral buildup and corrosion within your water heater and the pipes. This obviously will make your heater last longer and operate with a better efficiency. If you’re planning on being gone for more than three days turn the thermostat down to the lowest setting or turn it off completely for some short term savings.

Matt and I reduced our water temperature this summer and felt no difference what so ever. Now that it’s gotten a little colder we have had to turn it up a few notches, but it’s still lower than it was originally.

Check out the EERE website to learn more about lowering your thermostat.

Total cost for energy updates: > $10
Possible energy savings: 31% to 55%