Winter in Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana taxes energy budgets. When you’re looking for ways to curb your home’s energy use, you can start by taking steps to drain your water heater’s energy use.
Excess energy loss from your water heater is preventable with water heater maintenance. If you insulate the appliance and the pipes leading to it, and employ some easy conservation measures, you can slow down the loss of excessive energy.
Home-improvement stores sell insulating blankets that reduce standby energy losses by as much as 45 percent, significantly cutting your utility bill. If your water heater feels warm to the touch or if you know that the R-value of the insulation is lower than 24, consider insulating the tank. The blankets or jackets are easy to install on electrical heaters, although you may want to contact a heating and cooling technician if you have a gas heater, because these units are more complicated.
When you insulate your tank, lower the maximum water heating temperature to 120 degrees. Besides reducing your energy consumption, you also decrease the risk of scalding. Modern dishwashers have heating elements that can raise the temperature of the water if necessary.
Insulating the pipes also cuts energy loss, especially if your heater sits in an unheated basement or closet. Not only does the insulation save energy, the pipes deliver hotter water, translating to water conservation. When insulating pipes coming from a gas heater, use fiberglass pipe wraps. Do not insulate the pipe within 6 inches of the flue.
If your water heater is older, chances are it doesn’t have heat traps. These traps sit above the heaters and prevent backflow of water into the pipes. The heated water stays in the tank. Installing heat traps involves soldering pipe joints. If you don’t have the equipment or skills for this task, ask a licensed technician to do the project for you.
To learn more about energy savings or schedule an appointment, contact a Home Comfort water heater installer. Serving the Mishawaka and South Bend areas, we’re always happy to help.
Our goal is to help educate our customers 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.