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Should I Insulate My Hot Water Heater?

Posted on: March 21, 2018

As a Maryland homeowner, you can appreciate the benefits of insulation in your walls and attic, but what about your water heater? Insulating blankets are readily available at most home improvement stores, but before you purchase one, read on to determine if you really need it, and how much, or how little it may help you save.

For water heater services in Baltimore and the surrounding areas, count on the experts at Pohlman Plumbing. Contact us today!


The prime factor when determining whether or not to insulate your tank is the age of the water heater. Appliances which are greater than 15 years old may have little natural insulation, which can result in heat loss and excess energy usage. Newer models, however, may have a higher insulation R-value of R-24 or more, which is sufficient to retain the heat inside the tank. There are a number of ways to detect heat loss, including:

  • Look through the original documentation for your water heater which may give you the R-value of the insulation. If it is below R-23, you may be able to save on the cost of fuel with additional insulation.
  • If you’re unsure of the age of the appliance, you can figure it out from the information located on the rating plate on the tank itself. Locate the serial number, where on most models, the first four digits indicate the month and year of manufacturing.
  • Feel the outside of the tank: if it is warm or hot to the touch, heat is being lost and you may benefit from applying a hot water blanket.


Before deciding to insulate your hot water tank, consider whether it may be time for replacement. An older water heater tank loses efficiency over time and can cost more to operate through additional energy usage and repairs. A new, high efficiency water heater can increase comfort and savings and provide reliable service for years to come.

How to Wrap Your Water Heater With An Insulation Blanket

If you do decide to wrap the water heater with an insulation blanket, be sure to purchase one with a minimum insulating value of R-8 and follow these steps:

  • Turn off the electricity or gas to the water heater at the breaker for an electric tank or by turning the gas valve to the “Pilot” setting on a gas-fueled tank.
  • Measure and cut the blanket to fit if needed, making sure to leave clearance around the top of the unit and around the vent.
  • Place the blanket loosely around the tank and mark the areas where there are access panels, controls, pipes, and valves.
  • Measure and cut the required openings leaving sufficient clearance for safety and access.
  • Line up the blanket carefully and tape firmly into place.
  • Restore power to the unit and adjust the temperature on your electric heater to 130 degrees or lower, to prevent wires from overheating.

Baltimore Plumbers Offering Expert Water Heater Services

If you’re uncertain whether to insulate or replace your older water heater, contact the professionals at Pohlman Plumbing for expert, reliable advice. We’ve been helping Maryland homeowners with all their water heater needs since 2008! When it comes to plumbers in Baltimore, it’s important you work with someone you can trust. At Pohlman Plumbing, no task is too big or small and the professional and courteous service you will receive from our plumbers is second to none!

Call us today at (410) 764-5626 for water heater services in Baltimore backed by our Pohlman Promise: Fast service at a fair price, done right the first time. 

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Baltimore Plumbers You Can Trust Since 2008