Maintaining your hot water heater is essential if you want it to run efficiently, but in addition to routine hot water maintenance, you may also want to take steps to insulate your existing hot water heater. Improving the insulation prevents the hot water tank from losing heat, and that saves you energy in the long run. Here are some insulation techniques to consider:
1. Insulate the Tank Itself
To help your hot water tank keep as much heat as possible, you may want to wrap it in a layer of insulation. There are special insulating blankets you can buy just for this purpose, but you can also fashion your own insulating materials. For example, take wall insulation, wrap it around the tank and duct tape it in place. If you want to use supplies you have on hand, consider an old foam water floatation device, a foam sleeping pad for camping or even an old sleeping bag.
2. Insulate the Floor Under the Hot Water Tank
If your hot water tank is on a cement floor in your basement, it's likely losing heat through the floor. To prevent that, you can add a layer of insulated flooring underneath the hot water heater. This is easiest to do right before putting in a new hot water heater, but although it's time-consuming, it may be worth it to move your existing water heater, add the insulation and then put back the heater.
3. Add Insulation to the Room
In addition to insulating the hot water heater, you may want to add insulation to the whole room. If your water heater is in a basement or in a storage room on the end of the home, this can be an especially useful step to take. Consider adding insulation to the walls or ceiling, but also consider sealing air gaps in doors or putting in thicker doors.
4. Insulate the Pipes
Your hot water tank holds your water at a warm temperature until you are ready to use it. However, in most cases, the water that is sitting in the pipes leading from the tank to the tap tends to lose its heat. As a result, you typically have to run that water down the drain before you get the warm water that you want. To minimise that effect, you may want to add pipe insulation to those pipes.
If your tank is still having trouble holding heat, you may want to contact a hot water maintenance professional.