Considering that water heating accounts for a hefty slice of the energy bills in the average home, improving water heater efficiency should be underlined twice on any homeowner’s efficiency-upgrade checklist. With a little TLC and these troubleshooting tips, your water heater will respond with hotter water at lower water-heating costs.
Improving water heater efficiency
Home-efficiency upgrades, such as adding attic insulation, help curb energy bills by inhibiting heat loss, which also keeps the home more comfortable. Water heater insulation delivers similar results by inhibiting heat loss through the sides and top of the storage tank, and providing more comfortable and efficient hot water.
Heat loss through the sides and top of the water heater is called standby heat loss, and it’s the reason that stored water must be heated, and re-heated, to maintain temperature. Water heater insulation can prevent almost half of standby heat loss through the storage tank. Water heater insulation is available in pre-cut jackets that slide down over the top of the tank, or blanket insulation that wraps around the tank.
Electric storage tanks should be completely covered with insulation, with cutouts for the inlet and outlet water pipes, the thermostat panels and the drain valve. Installing insulation for gas-heated water heaters requires extreme caution:
- Do not install insulation near the flue at the top, or near the bottom combustion chamber.
- Leave cutouts for the thermostat panel(s) and drain valve.
- Consult your HVAC professional if you have any questions or concerns.
Your home’s hot-water pipes are susceptible to standby heat loss, too. Install insulation wrap or tubing around the water heater inlet and outlet pipes, and insulate all other accessible hot-water plumbing in your home. You’ll enjoy an increase of hot water temperatures by as much as 4 degrees, and simultaneously reduce water-heating expenditures.
Don’t forget to check the water heater thermostat(s). Set the temperature to 120 degrees. For two thermostats, the upper dial should be 120 degrees, and the lower dial 115 degrees.
For more information about improving water heater efficiency, contact Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning today. We’ve proudly served Fresno area homeowners since 1970.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about Improving Water Heater Efficiency and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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