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Shrewd homeowners performing home-efficiency upgrades by sealing air leaks and adding insulation shouldn’t overlook one very important system. Your water heater “leaks” heat in the form of standby heat loss — heating and re-heating stored water to maintain temperature. You can drastically cut standby heat loss, and your water-heating bill, by adding tank insulation to your home-efficiency checklist.

Just like a refrigerator is always on to keep perishables cold, a water heater is always on to keep stored water hot. All water heaters lose heat through the sides, top and bottom. When enough heat is lost, the burner, or heating element, powers on to bring the water back to temperature.

Since water heating accounts for up to 18 percent of total utility costs, and standby heat loss can account for half of water heating costs, it quickly makes sense to curb standby heat loss. The most efficient and simplest method to curb standby heat loss (by up to 45 percent) is to insulate the storage tank with jacket or blanket insulation.

Insulating an electric water heater is straight-forward. Slide the form-fitted jacket insulation over the tank, covering everything except the drain valve. Carefully use a utility knife to make cutouts for the thermostat covers. Blanket insulation wraps around the storage tank. Tape the seams without compressing the insulation, or it loses heat resistance.

Gas- or oil-heated storage tanks require extreme caution when insulating. Do not cover the bottom combustion compartment, the drain valve or the flue at the top. You’ll still need cutouts for the thermostat covers. If you decide you’d rather have an HVAC professional install the insulation, go ahead and request preventive maintenance, too. Regular maintenance improves water heating, reduces costs and helps the storage tank last years longer.

One final place to add insulation is around accessible hot water pipes, including inlet and outlet water pipes on the water heater tank. Insulating pipes increases hot water temperature up to four degrees, and delivers hot water faster.

For more water heater tips, contact us at Aladdin Heating & Cooling today. We’ve served homeowners in Warren, Birmingham and throughout all of Metro-Detroit since 1945.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about water heater insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Aladdin Heating services Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Southfield, Oak Park, Ferndale, Beverly Hills, Berkley, Royal Oak, Birmingham, Bloomfield Twp., Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Madison Heights, Clawson, Sterling Heights, Warren, Troy, St. Clair Shores, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, Detroit, Utica, Shelby Twp., Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Lake Orion, Oxford, and Clarkston.

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