In cold, wet winter months like this, it’s easy to think about the heat, and sadly, even easier to think of the heating bill. New insulation at home is one of the best ways to offset this burden.
The idea is simple. Insulation keeps more warm air in the home so you don’t have to spend as much replacing the air that is lost.
While an entire household project might be impossible right now, if only for the hassle, there are smaller projects that can make a sizable dent in a heating bill. Insulating typical tank-storage water heaters can inhibit heat loss, meaning there’s less energy wasted in reheating your water.
Touch your water heater. If it is at all warm, heat’s escaping and you can benefit from extra insulation. A simple fix can save 4 to 9 percent on annual water heating costs. The process is simple. Insulation blankets can be found at a local hardware store or online for $10 to $20. Look for one with an insulation value of at least R-8.
The installation of a blanket for electric water heaters is a relatively simple do-it-yourself project, but it’s one that you want to take an afternoon to make sure you do it right. Be sure to cut holes for both the control panels and the air intakes. Also, don’t set the the thermostat above 130 degrees with a blanket. Above that temperature, the wiring could begin to melt.
A blanket for gas water heaters is a bit more complex and should likely be installed by a professional plumbing or heating contractor. It can be handled individually, but there is the added factor of a flame that can become a huge safety hazard if not handled correctly. Be sure to follow any instructions and check your water heater’s information for any safety concerns.