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You’re Wearing An Extra Layer — Your Water Heater Could Use One, Too

Posted on February 21, 2013

Hot water accounts for a significant percentage of your home’s annual energy consumption, and finding ways to boost your water heater’s efficiency can put hundreds of dollars per year back in your pocket. With energy prices on the rise – a trend that’s expected to continue in the coming years – now is the time to find ways to cut back. Insulating your water heater and your hot water pipes is one of the easiest and most cost-effective energy-efficiency improvements you can make.

Insulation inhibits thermal transfer, or the passage of warm air from one place to another. Thus, if you insulate your hot water tank, you will trap more of the thermal energy where it belongs, preventing it from escaping and avoiding the need to spend more energy and money bringing your hot water up to temperature. You may be able to quickly and easily perform this task yourself by purchasing a water tank insulating kit from your local home improvement retailer or online. If you have a gas water heater, this project can be more challenging because of vents and pipes, and may need the help of a reliable professional.

In addition to insulating your hot water tank, it’s also a good idea to insulate all exposed hot water plumbing fixtures in your home. Inexpensive foam insulating tubes are ideal for this task, and they’re easy to install. You don’t require any special expertise or technical skill, and the savings will be immediate.

There are a few other helpful tips regarding your water heater that you should know about, too. First, cutting back on hot water consumption is an excellent strategy. Install low-flow showerheads and avoid running hot water taps unnecessarily. If your utility company charges sliding rates for energy consumption, set your water heater to operate during off-peak hours. You can also turn down your water heater’s thermostat; these are typically calibrated at 20-degree intervals, with the default setting being 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You will rarely if ever need water that hot, so scaling back to 120 degrees is a great way to save some money.

At Comfort Systems, we’re happy to provide you with a comprehensive range of energy-saving tips and products. If you have any further home comfort or energy-efficiency questions, please contact us today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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