Insulate Your Water Heater Tank for Energy Savings!

Unless your water heater’s storage tank already has a high R-value of insulation (at least R-24), adding insulation to it can reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45%. This will save you around 4%–9% in water heating costs.

If you don’t know your water heater tank’s R-value, touch it. A tank that’s warm to the touch needs additional insulation.

Insulating your storage water heater tank is fairly simple and inexpensive, and it will pay for itself in about a year. You can find pre-cut jackets or blankets available from around $10–$20. Choose one with an insulating value of at least R-8. Some utilities sell them at low prices, offer rebates, and even install them at a low or no cost.

Insulating an Electric Water Heater Tank

You can probably install an insulating pre-cut jacket or blanket on your electric water heater tank yourself. Read and follow the directions carefully. Leave the thermostat access panel(s) uncovered. Don’t set the thermostat above 130ºF on electric water heater with an insulating jacket or blanket—the wiring may overheat.

You may want to see our instructions for installing an insulation blanket on an electric water heater.

You also might consider placing a piece of rigid insulation—a bottom board— under the tank of your electric water heater. This will help prevent heat loss into the floor, saving another 4%–9% of water heating energy. It’s best done when installing a new water heater.

Illustration showing insulation jackets for electric and gas water heater. The electric water heater has cut-outs in the insulation for the heating coil elements, and the gas heater has cut-outs for combustion air. The insulation placed on top of the heaters has cut-outs for the heat trap pipes.

Insulating a Gas Water Heater Tank

The installation of insulating blankets or jackets on gas and oil-fired water heater tanks is more difficult than those for electric water heater tanks. It’s best to have a qualified plumbing and heating contractor add the insulation. If you want to install it yourself, read and follow the directions very carefully. Keep the jacket or blanket away from the drain at the bottom and the flue at the top. Make sure the airflow to the burner isn’t obstructed. Leave the thermostat uncovered, and don’t insulate the top of a gas water heater tank—the insulation is combustible and can interfere with the draft diverter.

Related Information

  • Install Heat Traps on a Water Heater Tank for Energy Savings
  • Lower Water Heating Temperature for Energy Savings
  • Reduce Hot Water Use for Energy Savings
  • Insulate Hot Water Pipes for Energy Savings
  • Drain-Water Heat Recovery
  • Install a Timer and Use Off-Peak Power for Electric Water Heaters
  • Select a New Water Heater.

www.energysavers.gov

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