Taking every opportunity, you can around the house to conserve energy is essential to preserving this precious resource and saving on your energy bill. The household water heater can account for up to 12% of a family’s electricity bill, so conserving energy at the water heater is essential. One way to do this is with water heater blankets. But are water heater blankets effective and are they a worthwhile investment to make for your water heater? Here we look at the details.
Why Water Heater Blankets?
Tank style water heaters work by drawing cold water into a tank where it is heated and stored until it is used. As hot water is pulled off the top of the tank, cold water replaces it, and the tank is heated again from the bottom. Once water is heated in the tank, it just sits there until it is used. Because the water has been heated and is now sitting exposed to the outside environment, heat loss can occur through the tank, and the water heater will have to fire up again to reheat the water. This multiplies the energy needed and used to heat just one volume of water.
Water heater blankets were introduced as a way to provide an extra layer of insulation between the hot water tank and the outside air. It may not prevent all heat loss from occurring from the tank, but water heater blankets are thought to improve the heat loss, particularly in cold climates.
What is a Water Heater Blanket?
Water heater blankets are made of an insulative material covered in sheet plastic that can be attached to the water heater tank. Like other insulation, water heater blankets are rated based on their R-value, and a blanket R-value of R-11 is recommended.
How Much Do Water Heater Blankets Cost?
Water heater blankets are relatively inexpensive. They are easy to install, and most homeowners can install them alone, however, sometimes they are installed by a professional plumber for a complete coverage. Most water heater blankets cost between $20-$40.
How Much Do Water Heater Blankets Save?
The Iowa Energy Center has reported that a water heater blanket that properly insulates your water heater tank can save you 25-45% on your water heater energy costs each month. This means that the cost of a water heater blanket, being relatively low, can be quickly recouped with the savings that the water heater blanket can provide you. In short, a water heater blanket is well worth the investment to protect and insulate your tank.
Do I Need A Water Heater Blanket?
If you have a very new tank-style water heater, it’s possible that you don’t need a water heater blanket. More modern tank-style water heaters have thoroughly insulated tanks, and installing water heater blankets may not make a difference. Check the insulation level of your water heater tank in the user manual, and ask your plumber if your tank water heater’s efficiency could be improved with a water heater blanket.
Installing water heater blankets where necessary is one of the most effective yet economical ways to save energy on your hot water tank. Talk to your plumber about your current tank insulation and whether adding a water heater blanket could help you.