Water heater insulation cover or blanket: Worth it? (AVOID Doing This!)

If you have an older water heater, it can be interesting to add an insulation cover.  As with any other part of your home, a well-insulated water heater will save you money on your energy bills. This cover is quite cheap and can often be recouped in a few years (depending on your weather and installation). Given that it is not a lot of work to install it, it can be worth considering. Newer water heaters have more advanced insulation and often don’t need additional insulation covers. 


What is Hot Water Heater Insulation?

Hot water heater insulation is a layer of material that is applied to the outside of your water heater to lower its energy consumption. Insulation will cause your water heater to draw less electricity from the power grid or gas, meaning you will have lower utility bills.

 It is suitable for gas and electric water heaters. Most insulations are made out of a type of foil and foam. Make sure that you get one that is fire-resistant.

Benefits of Hot Water Heater Insulation: pros and cons

Insulating a how water heater has several benefits:

– Reduces energy costs – Insulates water heater to lower monthly energy bills by as much as 20%.

– Increases comfort – The water in the tank can stay hot for longer

– Increases the lifetime of your tank. Your tank has to work less and this can help it to last longer.

It can be a great small project if you have some time on your hands. For most people, it can be very satisfying that some work can result in such a great result. Some people don’t like the look of an insulated water heater but you don’t have to see this every day so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. 

It can be harder to work on the water heater once the insulation has been installed. It often breaks when you want to remove it as the tape can tear the insulation in two. For this reason, it is best to install the insulation after a plumber has done maintenance. 

How to Insulate a Water Heater: blanket or cover

Before insulating your water heater, you will need the right tools. First, you will need a tape measurer, utility knife, foil tape, the blanket or cover and a straight edge. Also wear protective equipment.

 Make sure to get a blanket that fits your heater as they come in different sizes. Once this is done, you can start to add the foil behind your heater. Wrap it around your heater and add the tape. Once this is done, you can move to the top part. Add enough tape so that the foil stays in place. Make sure that the heater is completely covered. Don’t touch the insulation once it has been installed as it can tear when you don’t handle it properly.

There are also smaller rolls that won’t completely cover your tank. You have to overlap multiple layers of the material so that you can completely insulate your tank. This is more work as you have to work in multiple steps. These rolls are cheaper though as they are easier to transport. 

If you buy a roll, they will often indicate how effective it insulates. Some rolls are quite cheap but don’t hold the heat that well. You have to see what your needs are and make a decision based on this. Don’t spend too much on this as most older water heaters don’t last that long. You often don’t need this for newer water heaters so the insulation might get thrown away after a few years. Check your local code to see if it is allowed to add this type of insulation. The fire rating of the insulation is also important. 

Be careful that you don’t cover the pressure relief valve as this has to be able to disperse water if the pressure in the tank is too high. If the valve is not able to do this, your water heater might get damaged. If your water heater has a display, it is also a great idea to keep this visible. You can often see error codes on these displays that make it easier to diagnose problems. It also allows you to reset your water heater if needed. 

You can also ask a plumber to install this insulation for you. They might charge quite a lot for this and it is often possible to do this yourself. It can also be a great moment to clean the area around the water heater. Often this is installed in a garage or attic that isn’t maintained that well.  

 You can also add insulation to the pipes. This is quite easy to do as there are special foam strips for this. You just need a cutter and a tape measurer. These foam strips can often be closed quite easily. Just add some tape to secure them. If the pipes bend, you have to cut the foam strips so that they overlap properly. The whole pipe should be covered. If you leave one area open, the heat can escape via this way. 


In summary, insulating your hot water heater will help you lower your monthly energy bills by as much as 20%. It can also help to prevent damage to pipes and fixtures, during winter due to freezing.

The best way to insulate your hot water heater is to install insulation directly onto the tank. This is the most effective way to insulate your hot water heater.

This is cheap and easy to do. In less than 1 hour your water heater and the pipes can be insulated if you have the right tools. It can be harder for your plumber to work on the tank, so you might have to replace the insulation if a checkup is needed.

Given that most people earn the installation back after 1 year, it can be worth it. You have to look at your own situation and see if it works for you. Just make sure that you completely cover the tank and pipes as one small hole can disperse a lot of heat, making the insulation less effective. 

Also, check the settings of your water heater to make sure that it works optimally. Most people just keep the standard factory settings but this might not be ideal for your situation.