Installing a Water Heater Blanket

 Water heaters are designed to keep your water hot, regardless of whether you need it or not.  This can result in lots of wasted energy.  Installing an insulating water heater blanket can help keep the heat in.  Here’s how to install a water heater blanket:

Stuff you’ll need:

  • Water heater blanket
  • Insulation tape (may come with the water heater blanket)
  • Utility knife
  • Dust mask
  • Work gloves
  • Sharpie marker

Installing a water heater blanketInstalling the water heater blanket:

  1. Turn off the water heater.  If it’s an electric water heater, turn off the breaker at the electric panel.   For gas water heaters, rotate the gas valve to the Pilot position.
  2. Clear the area around your water heater so you’ll have room to work.  Water heater blankets are large to handle and you’ll need room to move around.
  3. Open the water heater blanket and lay it out on a floor.  Use the dust mask and gloves as you are installing the water heater blanket so that you will not be exposed to fiberglass.
  4. Measure the height of the water heater and cut the blanket to fit if necessary.  It is important that the blanket does not extend past the top of the water heater.  Do not wrap the water heater blanket over the top edge as this could be unsafe, especially if you block the vent on top of a gas unit.
  5. Get a helper and wrap the blanket around the water heater. Temporarily tape the water heater blanket in place.
  6. Using a Sharpie or other marker, feel and mark the areas where the controls are so that they can be cut out.  For electric water heater units, there will be two panels on the side of the tank.  For gas, you’ll need to mark an arch-shaped hole around the gas valves and burner.   Be sure to leave plenty of room around the valve and burner areas below.  Make the opening at least 1 inch wider than the valve and burner area.  Also, mark the area where the pressure relief valve and pipe are.  This will be a pipe that sticks out of the side of the water heater. 
  7. Once the areas around the controls and pressure relief pipe are marked, remove the water heater blanket and cut these out with a utility knife.
  8. Next, install the blanket being careful to line up the cut out areas and then tape it in permanently in place.
  9. After you are finished installing the water heater blanket, don’t forget to turn the water heater back on!

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