Hot water loses heat energy while traveling through your pipes from the hot water heater. The heat radiates through the pipes into the air. Knowing how to insulate the hot water tank or hot water pipes prevents heat loss. As a result, you get hotter water at the tap. You’ll probably be able to reduce the temperature setting on the hot water heater. A lower temperature cuts down on the energy used by the heater.
- Tape measure
- Scissors or utility knife
How to Select Hot Water Heater and Pipe Insulation
Insulating the hot water tank only requires fitting a hot water heater blanket or jacket around it. This product is usually fiberglass with a thin film on the outside.
Your local home store will have pipe insulation sleeves made from polyethylene or neoprene foam. Fiberglass sleeves or fiberglass strips on a roll are also available.
Typically, you should use the foam sleeves if you have an electric water heater. Foam sleeves are fine for most pipes connected to a gas water heater except on pipes near the flue. The flue heats up as the heater expels exhaust into the chimney. Do not place any insulation within 6 inches of the flue. Use bare fiberglass strips to wrap pipes in proximity to the flue.
Some sleeves are self-sealing. Otherwise, select a product to hold the insulation snugly against the pipe. Your choices include aluminum foil tape, wire, or zip ties.
How to Insulate the Hot Water Tank or Hot Water Pipes
- Measure the diameter and height of your tank.
- Select a fiberglass jacket that will fit.
- Wrap the jacket around the tank.
- With scissors or a utility knife, trim the fiberglass away from the controls and pressure release valve.
- For gas heaters, do not let the jacket come near the flue.
- Secure the edges with aluminum foil tape.
- Find out the diameter of your pipes. If you’re using sleeves, insulation is sized according to pipe size. Select sleeves with an interior diameter that fits the outer diameter of the pipes.
- Measure the lengths of all hot water pipes.
- Add up the lengths of these pipes to determine how much insulation to buy.
- Cut insulation to fit every length of pipe between elbows.
- Put on your headlamp if working in dark areas.
- Slip sleeves over pipes with the seam facing downward or wrap insulation strips around the pipes like a bandage. Try to avoid leaving any areas of pipe exposed.
- Place tape, wire, or zip ties about every 18 inches to hold the insulation.
Professional Plumbing Services
Insulating your pipes can get challenging when they are in hard-to-reach places. If the job is looking too time-consuming, talk to the plumbing specialists at Oliver. We can help improve comfort and energy efficiency. Contact us today for an insulation estimate.