Insulate water heater pipes

Why? In a typical home, about 10% of the energy used for water heating is lost moving water to and from the tank and 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. This can reduce pipe-sweating problems in the summer as well.
Step-by-step:
  1. Determine your focus. Insulate all accessible hot and cold water pipes, especially those within a metre of the water heater.
  2. Check spacing. If you have a gas water heater, be sure to keep insulation at least 10 cm away from the flue. Check the manufacturer's installation guidelines to ensure that this is a safe distance. Include insulation around 90 degree elbow bends.
  3. Determine the optimal R-value and materials. You can insulate with foam pipe insulation sleeves or power bars 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. Do not place any pipe-wrap insulation within 15 cm of exhaust vents at the top of water heaters.

Good to know: Insulating your hot water pipes can raise the water temperature at the tap up to 2°C. Consider turning down the temperature of your water heater to 60°C for even more energy savings.

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Save up to $15 per year

Up-front costs: Depends on type and amount of insulation used