What Is a Water Heater Blanket?

Last Updated On June 11, 2024

Updated on July 1, 2022



Reviewed by

what is a water heater blanket

Does it seem like your water does not get warm in the winter? A hot steamy shower is a needed winter remedy for many ailments, plus it just feels great. But did you know that your hot water heater may be working twice as much just to keep your water minimally warm during the cold months? 

The solution may be as simple as a hot water heater blanket. So what is an insulation blanket? This article will answer that question and provide more information on this energy-saving product.

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • Why use a water heater blanket?
  • Does your water heater need a blanket?
  • Will a water heater blanket save you money?
  • What is the best water heater blanket?
  • Are there other ways to insulate a water heater?

In a hurry, and need to quickly find the best picks? No problem, see below:

AES Industries Water Heater Blanket Jacket 
  • Made in the USA
  • Easy to install
  • Covers average & large tanks
  • Made in the USA
  • Easy to install
  • Covers average & large tanks
View on Amazon
SmartJacket Water Heater Blanket Insulation System
  • No fiberglass
  • Lightweight
  • Muffles noise
  • No fiberglass
  • Lightweight
  • Muffles noise
View on Amazon
Frost King SP60 All Season Water Heater Insulation Blanket
  • Made in USA
  • R-10 r-value
  • Warranty available
  • Made in USA
  • R-10 r-value
  • Warranty available
View on Amazon

What Is A Water Heater Blanket?

A water heater blanket is a large insulated wrap to help keep warmth within the water heater. The less heat that escapes, the less energy your home and hot water heater have to use to keep hot water available. 

Now that you know what a water heater blanket is, let’s explore a few more common questions about water heater blankets. Alternative names also include cover, jacket, and insulator.

According to Energy.gov, insulating your water tank is one of many vital steps a homeowner can take to reduce their energy load and therefore their energy bill. If your water heater does not have to work as hard to keep hot water available, you will find it lasts longer without repairs or replacement, so you have the potential to not only save on energy costs but also on water heater replacement and repair charges. 

Even if your hot water tank has fiberglass insulation, it may still benefit from additional insulation, such as a water heater jacket or foil tape.

Go ahead and give your water heater tank a touch right now and see if you are leaking energy and money on a daily basis. Watch this video below for a quick demonstration:

Why Use A Water Heater Blanket?

Water heater blankets are common, especially in colder climates where significant heat can escape from the hot water heater. Homeowners use them to prevent heat from leaving the unit. This means your water heater won’t have to work all day to keep the water comfortably warm. No matter your climate, a hot water heater blanket can likely reduce your energy costs and footprint. 

According to The Energy Savings Project by The U.S. Department of Energy, installing a water heater blanket should take under an hour and a half, and can save you money on your power bill in addition to reducing your carbon footprint each year. This along with other regular maintenance items may also prolong the life of your water heater.

Does Your Water Heater Need a Blanket?

Newer water heaters may not need a blanket as much as older models. It depends on the water heater’s R-value. Is it above 24? 

If you cannot find a number then the recommendation for discovering your water heaters R-value is simple: touch the outside of the heater. Does it feel warm? If so, you likely need a water heater blanket. If it does not, then you likely do not need additional water heater insulation.

did you know what is a water heater blanket (1)

Is A Water Heater Blanket Worth It?

The short answer is yes, using a water heater blanket can be worth it and save you money. It does not take too long to install it, nor does it cost much to purchase so it is worth the money and effort. 

Some regions have incentives for homeowners who take such measures to conserve electricity, and some power companies will actually sell these products at a reduced rate and even install them. This depends on your area and local policy. Check with your utility company, they might even offer you one at no cost during energy savings promotions.

Do Water Heater Blankets Save Money?

Yes, a water heater blanket can save you money on your monthly water heating cost by reducing the number of times the unit has to reheat the same water to the desired water temperature due to heat loss, increasing energy efficiency. 

It can also prolong the life of your unit, reducing repair and replacement costs due to shortened heating cycles. Want even more energy savings? Consider installing a programmable water heater timer as well.

When Should You Use A Water Heater Blanket?

While using a water heater blanket is most useful during those coldest months, the blanket or jacket should always remain on the unit because heat can escape no matter the outside temperature around it. You should insulate your tank if it is warm to the touch, no matter the R-Value. 

If your unit has an R-Value under 24, no matter how it feels to the touch, it’s recommended that you insulate it. Many people simply insulate their water tank just in case, to make sure that they are saving optimally. It’s easy enough to do so.

Are There Other Ways To Insulate A Water Heater?

If you are searching for how to insulate a hot water heater, you may already have some ideas like using home insulation or perhaps spray foam around the tank. 

There are other ways but none of them are as simple and straightforward as a water heater blanket, and other methods such as building a structure to hold insulation around it will have to be dismantled if/when the water heater needs repairs or replacements. 

A water heater blanket is just as effective, without all the hassle.

What Is The Best Water Heater Blanket?

The best water heater blanket depends on your climate, your water heater’s R-value, the size of your unit, and your installation abilities. Basically, be sure to choose a water heater blanket that is the correct size for your tank. Most kits are sold in such a way that you can cut them to size, versus being sold based upon make and model of the unit. Some people try to put loose insulation against it or insulation sheets for windshields. 

These items are simply not going to be as effective, and stepping outside the regulations may cause a fire hazard. We do not recommend you use these alternatives. Instead, go with a popular solution that gives you the flexibility to size it for your unit for a good fit. 

Water heater blankets are relatively easy to put on, can save you money on energy bills, and are a low-cost solution. We recommend it.

FAQs For Water Heater Blanket

Does a water heater blanket really work?

A water heater insulation blanket will reduce your energy cost, whether you have an electric water heater or gas water heater.

Do new water heaters need insulation blankets?

Any water heater without 100% efficiency can benefit from additional insulation unless it is a tankless water heater. 

Are water heater blankets fireproof?

Water heater blankets are fire-resistant. 

How much does an insulating blanket save?

Savings vary based on the water heater, but you can expect a lower heating cost after you get one thanks to lower standby heat loss. 

Meet Your Plumbing Navigator

Plumbing Navigator: plumbing advice

About Plumbing Navigator

We’re passionate about all things plumbing, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your project a success!

Learn More Plumbing Tips

Want to tackle more plumbing projects? Check out these helpful guides!

best water heater stand
tankless water heater flush kit
best mesh drain strainer
Best Shower Drain Cover

Got Plumbing Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

About Plumbing Navigator

We write about "all things plumbing," helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

About Plumbing Navigator

We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

Recently Published Guides