Friday, November 16, 2007

Insulating a hot water heater

Insulating a Hot Water Heater
Flexible metal tape measure
a "Sharpie" for marking
Good Utility Scissors
A straight edge for marking cutting lines


Our cabin in the Michigan North woods is a nice place on a good fishing lake and wildlife all around. It was built in 1967, when cheap energy and heat was not a problem. We decided to make it more energy efficient in the least expensive manner. So, we started with the easiest to do, the hot water heater. This project can be done for less than $20.00.It won't take long to recover that and be saving heating dollars.

1. Go to a home improvement store and buy a hot water heater blanket. It's made of fiberglass batting. It is several inches thick, has a white plastic facing, and includes tape to secure it to the heater. You can cut it to size to fit every standard size hot water heater.

2. Installation is a snap. First, turn off the power or fuel source to the heater. Open the blanket's bag and lay out the blanket on a flat surface. Measure the diameter of the heater. Measure the diameter around the entire heater like you would measure your waist. Then measure the heater's height. Do not include the legs of the heater. Measure from the top to the bottom of the heater body.
3. Cut the blanket to the height of the water heater body. Then cut the width of blanket to the water heater's circumference, leaving a little extra for overlapping where it joins to itself when you wrap it around the heater.

4. Do not cover the control panel of an electric water heater under any circumstances. Covering the control panel(s) will result in overheating ans possibly, a fire. It may have one on both the front or side upper portion and the lower portion of the body. It is secured to the heater body with screws.

5. With the power off, open both boxes' covers and look to see if there are wires connected. Replace the cover(s). Wrap the blanket around the heater with the white plastic facing the outside, and secure it together vertically with the tape that came with it. Stop the insulation at the bottom of the tank. Focus now on the control panel where you found the electric wires that are connected. With the control panel cover on, cut a hole in the blanket the same shape as the control panel. Be careful not to cut any electrical power lines. Remove the cut out piece and discard it.

6. Do not cover the thermostat area or the air intake burner area of a gas water heater. This area of the gas burner must be left open so air can reach the burner.
An electric heater can have a piece of insulation cut out and placed on top of it, and be taped securely. Do not insulate the top of a gas water heater.
Do not go below the bottom of the body of the water heater with the wrapped insulation blanket.

7. Both types of water heaters also have a pressure relief valve at the end of a pipe. This must not be covered, and must be allowed to operate freely.

8. Re-light or turn the electric power back on, and you are finished.

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