Steps to Insulating a Water Heater

At My Buddy the Plumber in St. George, water heaters are among our specialties. As you’re headed into a colder season, having these items well-maintained or replaced if they need it is very important.

We can also help with some handy tricks related to the water heater, and one such trick is insulating the unit. Some water heater tanks will become warm to the touch – this means heat loss is taking place, and this is costing you both energy and money on your monthly utility bill. But insulating the tank is a simple, low-cost way to eliminate this problem and get your system back to functioning at peak efficiency. Let’s look at some basic tips and precautions, plus steps to take when insulating your water heater.

steps insulating water heater


A few basic tips and cautions before you get started:

  • If the water heater is leaking on top of being warm to the touch, do not insulate it. Leaks should be addressed by our plumbing professionals first, who may determine a repair or replacement is necessary.
  • For non-leaking water heaters, insulation can be a fantastic investment. Many homeowners see a positive return on investment within a year based on the low cost of insulation and the high returns in energy efficiency.
  • Insulation blankets are very cheap – only a few dollars in most cases. There are also insulation blanket kits available that come with all the materials you need in one place.

Insulation Steps

  • Turn off all power or gas going to the water heater unit. If you have an electrical unit, this is done at the electrical panel. If you have a gas heater, it’s done using the gas valve.
  • Measure your water heater’s height from top to bottom, then cut the insulation blanket to that exact height. You don’t need to be concerned with covering the top of the heater – in fact, it should remain open at all times so the vent isn’t blocked.
  • Temporarily tape your newly cut insulation blanket to the heater so you can line it up and use a marker to note access panels, gas valves, burners and various pipes. After you’ve done this, remove the blanket and cut out all these marked areas.
  • Use electrical tape or the tape in your insulation blanket kit to permanently install the insulation. Make sure all your openings have been cut properly and allow enough breathing space for the valves, burners, pipes and panels.
  • Return to your electrical panel or gas valve and turn the water heater back on, keeping the temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve the optimal heating and savings ratio.

To learn more about insulating your water heater this winter, or for information on our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the pros at My Buddy the Plumber today.