Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Give your Hot Water Heater a Coat for Christmas

This is a "Sanity Saving Mode" report.

If you are like us, you may live in an older house where the water heater is in the garage.  If your garage is like ours, it may not be very well insulated.  We knew it was cold out there but didn't realize how cold till one year when some water in the inlet pipe on our washing machine froze, causing the pipe to burst and flooding the floor to our garage.  The worst part was that this happened about 4 minutes after my husband left for work and I was home sick and couldn't talk.  I heard a strange noise (luckily, in this case, our bedroom is next to the garage), and finally found myself opening the door to the garage and discovering the flood.  All I could do was text my hubby to come home quick the garage was flooding.  Needless to say, since that happened not only has hubby put some major insulation around those pipes, when it's really cold outside he's been known to pour boiling water down them before starting a load of laundry (yes, my husband does the laundry - and yes I know how lucky I am).

But, laundry pipes aren't the issue this year.  This year it's my sanity and the hot bath I attempt to enjoy nightly before going to bed.  However, for the last couple of weeks that hot bath has been but a dream.  It's been more like a lukewarm bath as the hot water has run out about 4 inches before the tub got full.  I told hubby about this, but it wasn't until he saw it for himself (when he tried to warm up from a hot bath that he really "got" it).  So, Sunday morning in my frustration over not being able to enjoy a hot bath after my birthday festivities, I got online and started searching.  I think I searched for something simple (because I'm not really good at complex searches), like "hot water heater insulation".  Whatever I typed in, the first thing that came up with a government website that described the proper settings for a hot water heater and how to insulate said hot water heater.  Turns out there's an insulated coat you can buy at Lowe's or Home Depot to help keep your hot water heater warm.  After showing the link to hubby, he promptly took action and went online looking to see which store in our area sold the coats.  He found it at Home Depot and ran out to get it (yes, I realize how lucky I am), then he came home and installed it.

Sunday night I took a warm bath.  It still wasn't hot but it seemed better than it had been.  I wasn't sure if that was just wishful thinking on my part or what, so I figured I'd give it another day to see if it really helped.  My bath last night was wonderful.  The water was actually hot when I got in and stayed hot for a good hour.  That was the longest bath I've taken in weeks!  And the best bath I've taken in weeks!

Of course, they tell you that you should use one of these coats on your water heater for energy savings.  Around our house we've learned that those suggestions may or may not be true.  It's hard to say, what we can go on is results.  When we put new windows in the house was more comfortable (both in temperature and in sound-proofing); when we put a new front door in we couldn't see the light creeping in anymore and our foyers is now actually staying warm this winter.  We put a coat on our hot water heater and now my bath water is actually getting hot and staying hot.  Results!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the coat (er, blanket) only runs about $20 at Home Depot.

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