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Do Water Heaters Need to Be Insulated?

Prepare Water Heaters for Winter

As the cold weather approaches, it’s important for homeowners to take the necessary steps to winterize their homes. One of the most important things homeowners can do is insulate their water heaters. While it may not seem necessary, doing so can actually save homeowners money on utility bills.

What is Water Heater Insulation?


Water that enters the home during the fall and winter is colder than usual. Household members may not notice this change because water heaters warm the water to provide hot water for the home. Although warm water is still available, most water heaters must work much harder to maintain the warm temperature without proper insulation.

Water heater insulation is sometimes referred to as a water heater blanket. Like a fluffy comforter at night, water heater insulation is designed to store heat. Water heaters located in the garage will need a heavier material to protect against freezes and may require fiberglass or double-sided aluminum foil casing. Once a water heater can better preserve heat, it can reduce energy expenditure. This reduces monthly electric bills and prolongs the water heater’s longevity.

Do All Water Heaters Need Insulation?

A modern hot water tank might not need insulation if purchased within the past few years since newer water heater often comes with more insulation than older ones. To tell if adding insulation is necessary, homeowners can check their water heater’s R-value. The R-value measures thermal resistance depending on the material of the tank.

If the R-value is below 24, this is an indication that insulation is necessary. This is usually the case with older water heaters. The higher the R-value, the more insulated the water heater, but a rating of 25 or 26 is still considered low. Adding material underneath the tank can prevent additional heat loss and save energy and money.

Types of Insulation


Depending on where the water heater is located, different materials may be necessary to protect against the cold. Gas water heaters may also require a different kind of material than an electric water heater. Vinyl-backed fiberglass is one of the more popular water heater blankets because it can be used for gas or electric heaters.

Fiberglass can absorb heat while the vinyl prevents water from seeping in. This is ideal for the winter. Because the outer layer of the heater is kept dry, there is also no need to worry about mold or fungus during the wetter months.

Polyethylene foam is often used for flexibility. It can be easily measured and cut to fit the exact size of the water heater. This particular water heater blanket reflects over 95% of radiant energy while also protecting against moisture. Polyethylene can be used on both indoor and outdoor heaters. /p>

Heavy-duty foam core can be used for smaller models. While it can be difficult for homeowners to install, it does not contain the same toxic chemicals as fiberglass. Foam provides a 40% standby heat loss reduction while avoiding carcinogenic material.

Reflective foil is another non-toxic option. It can be used for both gas and electric water heaters and is easy to install. Although the water heater blanket is not particularly thick, it does block radiant heat. Regardless of the material, a trained professional can assess whether it’s necessary before proper installation.

About Korte Does It All.

Korte Does It All is a family-owned company that has been serving Fort Wayne, IN and the surrounding areas for over 50 years. They provide 24/7 live answers, fast response times, and financing. Call them today for water heater services in Fort Wayne, IN.

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