We've certainly talked about the best electric blankets to keep YOU warm this winter, so now it's time to talk about a blanket to keep your water heater warm as well. It will save a lot of money!
Saving money usually becomes a priority when you get the first bill in winter. There are some things you can do to help reduce the amount of money you spend every month. One of the biggest reasons for high energy costs is the hot water heater. Insulating this can cut the energy usage by about 25%.
Hot water heater blankets were introduced in the 1970's when conserving energy hit the mainstream. They have become a consistent addition to many homes. A hot water heater a tank of water that's heated to a preset temperature. When you use hot water it's drawn from the tank and new cold water replaces it. It needs energy to keep the water hot even if no one is using it. Energy is always escaping because of the colder air outside of the tank.
The heaters have a small amount of insulation to help keep the heat inside the tank. There is more insulation in newer models made within the last ten years. A water heater blanket is made of insulation placed within sheet plastic, this way it can be attached to the water heater. Blankets are rated based on their 'R' value system the way other insulation is. It is recommended the you use a blanket with a R-11 value.
In order to keep water hot there is a constant process. Once you use the hot water, it is replenished and kept at a consistent temperature until you need to use more. Energy leaves from the water heater and raises your utility bill. If you store the water heater tank in an unheated area outdoors. Your tank is being heated to 140 degrees, so if it is 40 degrees outside Your tank has a difference of 100 degrees. Unless that water heating unit is well insulated, it will lose heat. Even if you store the heater in a garage, it is still probably about 40 to 60 degrees colder there. So there is still going to be a difference in temperature between the tank the surrounding air. You could stand to save up to 25% with the heater outside, and up to two-thirds of that when stored in the garage.
Heater blankets are designed fairly simply. They are big pieces of insulation that is sealed in a plastic covering. Different sizes and styles are available for gas and electric heaters. Most of them come with straps and tape. If the blanket doesn't exactly fit your water heater, it is adjustable.
The blankets are easy to install. You will just need a sharp knife and tape measure. Most heater blankets cost between $10 and $25. The blankets are a rather inexpensive way to insulate your heater, and can be bought from any local hardware store. The Thermwell Products Co. SP57/67 Owens Corning Water Heater Insulation costs $14. You can find a water heater insulation blanket from Frost King. It's 75" x 48 " x 3 ". It fits up to a 60 gallon tank. The manufacturers model number is SP57/11C. The MD Building Products Co. has a heater blanket for under $22. It has a white vinyl backing but the blanket is made out of fiberglass. It works on both electric and gas heaters.
There are also other ways to cut energy costs besides heater blankets. Try to insulate the hot water pipes, lower the tank's temperature, or install a timer and a low flow shower head. Placing your basement water heating unit on a Styrofoam stab can also reduce the amount of energy lost from the heater. Ultimately, water heater blankets are inexpensive, easy ways to cut the energy costs. In this case, a little money can go a long way.