Insulate water heater pipes

Why? In a typical home, up to 9% of the energy used for water heating is lost moving water from the tank to your faucets (even more in large houses). Insulating hot water pipes reduces the amount of energy lost in distribution. As an added benefit, you won't have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on the faucet or shower.
Step by step:
  1. Determine your focus. Insulate all accessible hot and cold water pipes, especially those within three feet of the water heater.
  2. Check spacing. If you have a gas water heater, be sure to keep insulation at least 6 inches away from the flue. Check the manufacturer's installation guidelines to ensure this is a safe distance.
  3. Determine the optimal R-value and materials. You can insulate with foam pipe insulation sleeves or strips of fiberglass. The higher the R-value of the product you choose, the better it will insulate your hot water pipes.
  4. Install. Pipe insulation sleeves are easy to install—cut to the appropriate length and wrap around the pipe. Tape the seams where pipes meet. When using fiberglass, secure the insulation by taping every foot or two.

Good to know: Insulating your hot water pipes can raise the water temperature at the tap up to 4°F. Consider turning down the temperature of your water heater to 120°F for even more energy savings.

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