Wrapping a Water Heater

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Douglas Robinson

Doug Robinson
Corporate Member
My water heater is in the attic of our house. It gets quite cold up there this time of year. I have a thermal blanket to wrap it in. Any advice on how to do this correctly? Anything I should be wary of? Anything to avoid? I have ben told that I should wrap it so that the blanket does not touch the floor.

Doug
 

cpw

Charles
Corporate Member
Doug,

I've have only done one HWH wrap so I'm no expert, but the main thing I tried to do was cut access "doors" to all of the important parts like the access panels to set the temp and replace the heating elements. I just cut a flap and then taped it back down. That way I wouldn't have to tear the wrap off to take care of any of that later on. Our last two HWHs have been gas, and very well insulated to begin with, so I haven't bothered with a wrap. The top of the unit gets a little warm but the sides stay cold even though there are gallons of piping hot water inside and our current one sits for hours without running if no one is using hot water. I decided the money and time was better spent insulating the pipe because that was where we were losing the most heat.
 

BSHuff

Brian
Senior User
How old is the water heater. Have been told that the blankets help older heaters, but the new ones are much better insulated so the 'return' on wrapping them is no where near as great as the old units. If you you touch it is is warm?

Gas/Electric? If gas make sure you are not blocking anything that would prevent the chimney from drafting.
 

Mt. Gomer

New User
Travis
Yeah, I'll 2nd (err 3rd, 4th?) the only wrap if it's an older model thought.... If you touch it and can't tell there's hot water in it you're probably not going to help things much by wrapping. Also agree with wrapping the pipes. That's on my to do eventually list for the basement...

Trav
 

Marlin

New User
Marlin
I would also say it would not help if its a newwer engery star model. But in the attic I would still wrap it if you can get the wrap cheap enough.

But also make sure your pipes are wrapped as well. Its only $1-2 for 6foot of pipe wrap.
 

CaptnA

Andy
Corporate Member
Doug I'm in your camp on wanting to wrap.
Despite the industry claims, in the attic and with the weather we've had and are expected to get, I don't know what it could hurt. I'm an overkill sort I suppose.
I think "wasting" a little insulation and time has to be cheaper and easier than replacing a heater.

I'm not sure of the wisdom with some of the trends in construction, such as plumbing in the attic space. I know - I've seen too much of the worst case aftermath scenarios and too few of the success stories. What is the line of thinking aside from freeing up a small amount of floor space?
 

bluedawg76

New User
Sam
you can check the rvalue of the tank's insulation as well to see if it's worth it (in addition to just using your hand). typically folks recommend blankets with rvalues of 8 and above for any real cost-savings but if you're tank is already rated at r24, don't expect any real difference on your power bill. As for installation, it's what you'd expect, make cutouts for the access panel and inlet/outet and drain pipes(s) and valves, in essence anything protruding from the tank that you'd want to get to. As for the pipes, generally most of the heat loss comes near the tank i.e. insulating the 1st 5 ft of the water pipe as it leaves the tank is the most cost effective (and a heck of a lot easier than doing them all).

And of course, in the spirit of the holidays, make sure you put on a bow on it....(that's what i first thought this thread was about....how to wrap a new water heater for Christmas! :gar-La;)
Sam
 

zapdafish

Steve
Senior User
One thing I do in the morning is run the hot water tap in my sink for about a minute. That kicks the burners on the water heater so when I take the shower, the water is very hot. Otherwise on very cold nights, it is just warm.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
One thing I do in the morning is run the hot water tap in my sink for about a minute. That kicks the burners on the water heater so when I take the shower, the water is very hot. Otherwise on very cold nights, it is just warm.
Wasted water down the drain. Both Lowes and Home Depot sell a kit (Watts brand) that recirculates cooled hot water back through cold line, until sensor detects hot water. It works using a pump,and a thermo sensing valve. Costs about $200.
 
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