Energy Efficiency

Insulate a Hot Water Tank

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One of the biggest energy expenses in any home is the heating of water, so it is crucial that your hot water tank have proper insulation. Thankfully, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to insulate a hot water tank, and the modest time investment could provide great savings on your energy bill for many years.

You Will Need:
Pre-cut insulation jacket, or a blanket
Heavy tape
Tape measure
When shopping for a professional insulation jacket, look for one with a rating of R-8 or greater.


1: Measure the exact dimensions of your water heater: Unless you are a geometry whiz, you will probably need a tape measure to gauge the water heater’s circumference.

 2: Visit a hardware store and browse the selection of pre-cut water tank insulation jackets. A trained sales professional will be able to tell you the benefits and drawbacks of various brands. Regardless of specifications, precut insulation jackets are fairly inexpensive.

3: Read the instruction manual for your individual brand of pre-cut insulation jacket.

4: Locate the top of the jacket, as that is the area through which piping will need access.

5: Slip the jacket into place: Turn it as necessary, to make sure that the hot water tank’s access panels are properly exposed by the cut-outs in the fabric

6: Set the water tank thermostat below 130 degrees F: Hotter water can affect the water tank’s wiring system and lead to expensive overheating problems.


1: Measure the size of your water heater.

2: Cut a thick blanket into two pieces: one smaller portion to fit over the top quarter of your water tank, and the remaining portion of the blanket to insulate the body of the tank.

3: Cut slits into the top piece of the blanket; to line up with the pipes protruding from the top of your water heater.

4: Push the top piece of the blanket into place: Fold the edges down, and use a heavy industrial tape to secure them to the cylindrical body of the hot water tank.

5: Wrap the larger portion of the blanket around the body of the tank, and use the tape to secure it in place.

6: Cut crosses in the portion of the blanket that covers the tank’s access panels. Fold the corners back, so that you will always be able to reach the controls.

If you are unsure whether or not you should add insulation to a hot water tank, just give it a touch test. Any tank that is warm to the touch, could use some more insulation.

Install a bottom board beneath the hot water tank: This simple step will help insulate the bottom of your tank and keep heat from escaping through the floors.

If your water tank is leaking, do not install a pre-cut insulation jacket or blanket insulation system. The leaking water will be absorbed into the insulation, creating greater maintenance problems. Call a repairman to fix any leaks, before installing extra insulation.