With fall now upon us, it's time to start thinking and preparing for winter. Tough to imagine, but here in New England that means the days of sunshine and warmth are replaced by days of snow and ice. It's inevitable.
But one of the best things you can do to prepare for winter is to wrap your hot water heater. If it is warm to the touch, you need to insulate it. These unwrapped heaters lose lots of ambient heat to their surroundings, which is just waste, pure and simple--unless you are inclined to heat your basement. Insulating blankets and jackets for electric water heaters are available at most home centers and the U.S. Department of Energy has a set of instructions on how to do this. Be sure not to set the temperature above 130 degrees on a wrapped electric hot water heater as the wiring may overheat. Insulating a gas water heater is more complicated and should be done by a qualified plumber or heating contractor. This wrapping is one of the most inexpensive ways to save yourself a bundle in energy costs.