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How to Get the Water Heater Ready for Winter

During the winter, the home’s water heater has to work harder to meet the demands of the household as water, and air temperatures drop. As the temperature falls below freezing, the water heater may begin to freeze if it is located in a cold basement. Homeowners can keep their water heating costs low and reduce wear and tear on the hot water heater by adding insulation to protect it from cold weather. 

Water heater insulation can reduce energy consumption all year long by preventing heat loss. In this blog post, professional plumbers share insight into the benefits of insulating water heaters in the winter, and some types of water heater insulation homeowners can consider. Homeowners can consult trusted local plumbers for personalized advice on what kind of insulation will work best for them. 

Reasons to Insulate the Hot Water Heater

heaterWhen the water entering the water heater is cold, and the air around the water heater is cold, the water heater has to use more energy to heat the water and prevent heat loss. Insulating the water heater can save homeowners money all year, but especially during the winter. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, water heater insulation can reduce a water heater’s standby heat losses by around 25% – 45% and save homeowners around 7% – 16% in water heating costs.

The hot water tank contains gallons of water available whenever the household needs hot water. While the water is on standby for someone to use it, the temperature can begin to drop. Insulating the water heater tank ensures that water stays hot for longer while it is waiting to be used and reduces standby heat loss. 

How to Know If a Water Heater Needs Insulation

New water heaters may do fine in the winter without any additional insulation. However, that is not the case for older water heaters. Homeowners can determine whether or not they need to add insulation by looking at the unit’s R-value and age.   

R-value is a measurement used to indicate how well-insulated a barrier is. Many water heaters list the R-value on the product label. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation is. Homeowners will want to add insulation to their water heaters if the R-value is lower than 24. 

Another factor that homeowners should consider is the age of the water heater. New water heaters are designed with the latest modern advancements, including better insulation. Older water heaters may need extra insulation to keep energy bills low this winter. 

Types of Water Heater Insulation

typesThere are different methods and materials that can be used to insulate water heaters. The most popular way to insulate a water heater is by installing a water heater blanket. A water heater blanket is a cover placed over the water heater and secured like a blanket to keep the water heater warm and insulated. 

Water heater insulation is commonly made of lightweight foil that is easy to install around the unit. Homeowners can find water heater insulating kits at local hardware stores. The water heater blanket may need to be cut to be the proper size. Homeowners may also want to insulate the bottom of the water heater by adding a piece of wood or insulation beneath the unit. However, homeowners should be careful to avoid creating safety hazards by covering controls and valves.

About Jim Wagner Plumbing, Inc.

Jim Wagner Plumbing, Inc. has decades of experience serving Lombard, IL, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront prices, personal attention, and fast turnaround times. Call them today for water heater services in Lombard, IL