HEET Feb. tip for energy savings: Insulate your water heater

HOUGHTON – Want a quick, easy way to save some energy and some cash? Then this month’s Houghton County Energy Efficiency Team Energy Challenge upgrade is for you.

An insulating water heater blanket for older, uninsulated water heaters usually costs $25 or less, according to HEET Energy Manager Melissa Davis, and will usually pays for itself in just a few months. She considers it one of the easiest fixes HEET suggests.

Not everyone needs a water heater blanket, however. Water heaters built in the last decade or so generally have the insulation they need built in, and it’s better not to put a blanket on it that case.

So how do you tell? Easy.

“Feel it,” said Davis. “If it’s hot, it’s losing heat. Put a jacket on.”

A full instructional video, which also includes tips on insulating hot water pipes, is online at energizehoughton.org/efficiency-challenge, along with other information on HEET and the energy challenge.

Davis did offer a couple of personal tips, however. She advises friend to make the job much easier, wearing gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself from itchy fiberglass insulation and bringing extra duct tape in case what’s provided doesn’t last through the job.

Also, “If it’s gas, you don’t want to put anything on top of it,” she said. “It could obstruct air flow or be a fire risk.”