Chicago First Snow 2009 so Insulate Your Water Heater

Well, it’s official! December 7, 2009 and it is snowing in Chicago. Day one. And here I am for the third year in a row with a picture to commemorate the event. Having been out of town for 20 years or so traveling the world so that I could meet new and interesting people-and then kill them-it’s good being back home. So without further adieu, check it out…

snow 2009

and

snow2009

As a few of you long, long, LONG time readers may recall one of the “themes” of this blog was also the home renovation follow-along for the house I bought for fun and profit. But, oops! Housing crisis! So I’m still sitting on the property AND not doing the work. However, for your pocketbook, I’m doing a special little piece about insulation.

Since my computer hard drive burned out last week I can’t really do any real business, but I finally got this temporary laptop so looks like I’m writing for the blog again after all these months. But not for long; I’ll be getting back to work soon since I won the spare parts I need to do a little hard drive surgery from eBay last night.

hard drive

Anyway…

Insulating your water heater can save you a TON of money for the year, and the annual saving compounded over the next few years will really make you happy. So doing this job isn’t rocket science, but what MIGHT throw you off is buying the insulation if you go to Home Depot. They actually don’t keep it in the insulation department, they keep it in the water heater dept. ANNNNND if you don’t know what you’re looking for you’ll STILL miss it. The keep it rolled up like a sleeping bag, so I took a photo for you. Look at that weather! See how long ago I bought supplies. Poor house….

new insulation

And I’ve included a picture of what it looks like when you unwrap it. Those white strips you see are the tape that you use to seal the deal. You’re basically going to treat your water heater like a hotdog, and this thing is the “bun.”

insulation open

And finally, in this last picture you’re seeing how NOT to do the job. This is just me getting it into position. You’ll really want to cut holes out for all the “works.” The rusty ass pipe you see leading into the water heater is the gas supply. And you want to cut around the stuff so a) you have access and b) don’t have a HORRIBLE accident. Do NOT leave that on there like that. I’ve even put a caption on that picture because I get so many image searches on this blog.

water insulation

I’m sad to say I’ve had to fix about 3 or 4 of these heaters for various neighbors when the ‘hood has had the occasional flash flood. And I’ve done the job in the dead of winter! And I gradually began to notice that these heaters gave off quite a bit of heat. And then I realized they’re not just heating the water (like they’re supposed to be doing) they were trying the heat the WHOLE BASEMENT. Without insulation the heater will try to compensate for the room temperature and burn WAY more gas than you need for your water. Do this job. It’s 30 minutes and about 30 dollars.