Insulation blankets

Thought I would revive the discussion for this year about insulation blankets on water heaters.

The Clients on one of yesterday’s inspections faxed me the previous home inspection report while I was out this morning, and I just finished reading it.

The home inspector (had never heard of him, and he’s not listed in any of my yellow pages, so he must be a newbie, not that that is bad, you understand) used what looked like a fancy computer-generated checklist report. The computer checklist has this item:

He had checked “missing.”

My questions would be:

1 - What is the difference between “not present” and “missing” (Jeff Pope instructed me on the two a couple of years ago).

2 - In this case, because the home inspector had checked “missing,” the sellers had gone out and paid $279.88 for an insulation blanket and labor to install it.

In my report, though, I recommended removing the insulation blanket and stated why. What do you think I said?

And lastly, what is your own opinion of insulation blankets, and do you recommend them for your Clients?

I don’t recommend them, I also think manufacturers void the warranty if installed.

They are pretty worthless IMHO.

I just turned my Water Heater back on, it’s been off since May.

My garage stays pretty much a constant 95 degrees late spring, summer, and early fall…:smiley:

Until winter arrives, when it averages 70…:smiley:

Their usefulness depends on the ambient temperature of the space the water heater is in. They would be pretty useless in Az. but in Minnesota in someones garage, probably a good idea.

I’m not a water heater blanket specialist by any stretch of the imagination, but I think I have read from manufactures, they are worthless, since it is not possible to insulate something more than what is already considered enough…:smiley:

But than again I could be wrong, like you said James, they ain’t a hot item here…:smiley:

I wonder if a blanket would help keep the water cool in the water heater when it’s off?..:smiley:

That would be nice!

I’d agree with Dale…pretty much useless. It’s definately not “missing” as thay are not present when purchased, so “not present” would likely be more suitable. I wouldn’t even mention them in any case. I would also agree that they may even void warranties, but I have not contacted any manufacturing co.s to confirm this.

Here’s AO Smith’s take on it: . See middle of page 1. Doesn’t say it voids the warranty but it does say to install it to their specifications.

If I was the client in this situation I would be upset that a home inspector reports a insulation blanket missing and she spends almost $300 on a blanket.

The next inspector states that the cover should be removed. If I was the client I would send a bill to the first inspector for telling her they need a blanket on the water heater.

I personally dont right up blankets & dont recommend them. If there is one present I tell my client that I cant inspect the tank & cant read the data to determine specifications.

I think it is personal preference on installing a blanket. I think they are a poor investment but my cousin who is a repitable plumber has one and recommends them.

I peeled one back on a water heater in a crawl space this past summer and was warmly greeted by a 6 foot long black snake.

I’m very much against insulating blankets!

5 bucks says Joe burnt that pair of under-shorts:shock: :shock: :shock:

“2 - In this case, because the home inspector had checked “missing,” the sellers had gone out and paid $279.88 for an insulation blanket and labor to install it.”

$279? How ridiculus is that? Somebody saw them coming.
Anyway it doesn’t need it, but it doesn’t hurt if installed correctly.

I have a insulative blanket on my 60 gallon electric tank and can tell you it keeps heat in. Remember the thicker the insulation the more insulative value it has. In northern climates the blanket will help conserve heat and save electricity. When I put my hand in between the jacket and the tank it is definetly warm. Heat that would otherwise escape. I have also put an electric timer on my tank so that is only on for 2 hours twice a day for a total of 4 hours. Never short of hot water.

It’s in line with the cost of blankets and labor in my area. Three years ago it was an even $250. Inflation under the King, I guess. :margarit:

When I did research on the subject about five years ago, I found several of the major brands that did, in fact, void the warranty because the safety and operational information was obscured. Exceptions were when the installers removed the information labels and reapplied them to the exterior of the insulation blanket. That, however, would cause other problems if the insulation blanket were ever permanently removed, meaning that now the information labels were not on the water heater itself. What is one to do?

However, one of my Clients a few months ago asked me what R-36 meant. I said that it was an indication of the insulative value and that R-36 was quite good. Then I asked her why she was considering adding more insulation to the attic. She said that she wasn’t, that she was researching water heaters and found that hers was a double-walled water heater with insulation of R-36 between the two walls. I believe that most, if not all, modern water heaters are double-walled with insulation between the two walls, so would an additional one inch insulation blanket on the exterior of the water heater result in significant savings? At $279.88, I think the return on investment might take longer than the life expectancy of the water heater.

I think the answer is that no one knows for sure…

This site ( ) for a DIY show says this:

DoE says (again, note the cost):



But the Iowa Energy Agency recommends caution not to void warranties:

Sounds like they are worthwhile (except perhaps on newer well-insulated models) as long as they do not void warranties…

It also sounds like someone paid about $260 too much…

I mention them if they are there because they invariably cover up the safety and operational information, and that, in my opinion, is bad.

Here’s some of the more creative insulation blankets from my inspections:






Photo #3 - “Duct tape - is there anything it can’t do?”

My brother calls it “The Force”: It has a dark side, it has a good side and it holds the universe together.:smiley:

That Russell asking the question of Barry is yours truly. I had a long email conversation with Barry concerning insulation blankets. We finally agreed to disagree on a lot of stuff. He used several snippets from all of our emails to create a column that suited his needs. I sooooooooooooooo much wanted to have a column of my own so that I could publish all of the emails between Barry and me to present, as someone once said, “the rest of the story.”

By the way, I did put an insulation blanket on my water heater courtesy of the plumber down the street as per Barry’s instructions. No discernible warmth. Why? Because my water heater is a 2001 water heater with double walls and insulation between the walls.

As I told Barry in one of my emails, if the water heater is old (i.e., single wall), an insulation blanket might be worthwhile. However, I still wouldn’t install one, preferring to simply buy a new water heater for not much more. Simply upgrading to a modern water heater will result in significant savings above and beyond the cost of the insulation blanket itself.

And now that tankless water heaters have hit the market heavily…