Why Water Heaters Need Insulation in the Winter

Get Your Hot Water Heater Ready for Winter

Homeowners may need to insulate their water heaters in the winter to prevent heat loss and keep utility bills low. The water heater is one of the most important pieces of home hardware because it provides the home with hot water for bathing, cleaning, and other essential tasks. During the winter, cold temperatures may put extra strain on the water heater, which causes energy bills to rise. 

This blog post discusses why homeowners should add insulating water heaters to their winter to-do list. Preparing the water heater for the coldest months of the year will help homeowners save money and even improve the water heater’s lifespan. Failing to insulate the water heater can lead to unnecessary spending on energy bills and increase the home’s carbon footprint. 

Why is Water Heater Insulation Important?heater

Water heaters are often located in the home’s basement or garage, where the temperatures may fall below freezing during the winter. Because the air and water entering the water heater are colder than normal in the winter, it takes more energy for the water heater to heat and keeps the water warm. Both electric water heaters and gas water heaters can benefit from an extra layer of insulation during the cold winter months. 

The benefits of insulating a water heater in the winter include improved efficiency, saving money on utility bills, decreased wear and tear on the unit, and having more hot water when it is needed. The hot water tank contains gallons of water pre-heated to be available whenever the homeowners need it. While the water sits in the tank, it can lose some of its heat. This is called standby heat loss, and insulation can also help decrease it.

Do All Water Heaters Need Added Insulation?

There are multiple factors for homeowners to consider when considering whether or not they need to insulate their water heater. New water heaters are engineered with better insulation than older models. The older the water heater is, the more likely it is to need insulation, especially in the winter. Aging water heaters can also be less efficient overall, and adding insulation can help. 

The R-value of the water heater is a unit of measurement used to indicate how well-insulated the hot water tank is. The higher the R-value, the better the hot water heater is insulated. If the R-value of the water heater is less than 24, the homeowners should insulate it to promote more efficient performance. The R-value is often listed on the manufacturer’s sticker or manual. 

How to Insulate a Water Heater

insulationTwo common water heater insulation methods are water heater blankets and reflective foil. Water heater blankets are typically made from fiberglass, mineral wool, or vinyl foam and tightly wrap around the water tank. The water heater blanket keeps water warm by helping to reduce the water’s heat loss. It is important to ensure water heater blankets are securely fastened and fit tightly around the water tank for optimal insulation efficiency. 

Reflective foil is another popular material used for water heater insulation. Reflective foil can be found in various sizes and shapes and works by reflecting heat back into the water tank. It is important to ensure reflective foil insulation is installed correctly and sealed with no gaps for the best performance. Homeowners should consult a qualified professional if unsure which water heater insulation material best suits their needs. 

About Water Heaters Only, Inc.

Water Heaters Only, Inc. is a family-owned and operated company that has been serving Phoenix, AZ, and the surrounding areas for over five decades. They provide flat rate pricing, same-day service, and financing. Call them today for water heater services in Phoenix, AZ

Make Sure the Water Heater is Ready for Winter

Watch Out for These Signs of Water Heater Failure 

Fall is here, and colder temperatures are coming with it. With the cooler temperatures, everyone tries to remember the strategies they used to get them through the last colder season. No doubt one of those strategies was a hot bath or shower. 

Unfortunately, too many people will run to the shower this fall and winter to warm up, only to be met with cold, frigid water. Further investigation will undoubtedly reveal that the water heater has failed and left them out in the cold. 

Luckily, water heaters rarely fail without giving some indications that problems are in the future. Noticing and reacting to these signs can prevent families from being stuck without hot water to wash clothes and dishes and bathe. Here are some common signs that the water heater isn’t ready for winter and needs professional attention. 


Unpredictable Temperatures 

Before water heaters go completely cold, there are usually some signs that something is amiss. The first sign to look out for is temperature fluctuations that warn of a complete loss of service of the water heater to follow. Watch out for inadequate delivery temperature of the water and insufficient hot water volume. 

The inadequate temperature of the water is an indication that the burner or heating elements need attention. Sometimes adjusting the temperature at the water heater can help, but usually, the problem is more complex. Calling a professional for help can prevent a loss of hot water. 

An insufficient amount of hot water or when the shower gets cold too fast is almost always due to a lack of water heater maintenance. Over time, scale builds up in hot water tanks, inhibiting water from heating. Professional maintenance, including draining and flushing this sediment, can usually restore performance without the need to replace the water heater. 

Leaks leaks

Leaks in water heaters are serious problems that can have serious consequences. Water tanks are pressurized vessels that can cause injuries and burns when complications from leaks arise. Despite safety features, people are burned or fall victim to injury or property damage every year when water tanks explode. Instead of taking chances, keep an eye out for water leaks, which indicate that the tank is compromised. 

There are two kinds of leaks in a water heater, visible and hidden. The signs of visible leaks are:

  • Rusty spots on the outer jacket of the water tank
  • Corrosion around pipe fittings
  • Crusty scale that’s visible on piping

The signs of hidden leaks are: 

  • Sizzling or popping noises
  • Ignition faults
  • Constantly relighting the pilot light

If homeowners notice signs of a leak, they should reach out to a water heater technician immediately. The leak could not be from the tank and a minor problem easily fixed by the professional, or it could be on the tank from corrosion, meaning a water heater replacement will be necessary. 

Old Age and Wear and Tear

Another indicator that the water heater could be about to fail is age. Most water heaters have warranties that last for 7-10 years. After the warranty period, homeowners can start to expect problems. Some of the other signs that accompany old age and are indicative of too much wear and tear on the water heater are:

  • Numerous repairs over a short period
  • Fluctuating water temperatures
  • Corrosion

Water heater replacement might be the best option if the water heater is older or has experienced too much wear and tear. That way, homeowners can regain their peace of mind and ensure they won’t be left without hot water. Plus, utility bills will decrease with a new, more efficient water heater.  

About Water Heaters Only, Inc.

Water Heaters Only, Inc. is a family-owned and operated company serving Mesa, AZ, and the surrounding neighborhoods. They provide flat rate pricing, same-day service, and no overtime fees. Call them today for water heater services in Mesa, AZ.