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If you find yourself increasing the temperature setting on your gas valve or increasing the thermostat setting on your electric tank, you can know your tank is nearing the end of its days. The wire screen assembly that is right where your faucet's water comes out is called an aerator. A new hot water tank has a white plastic dip tube that runs from the top of the cold inlet to the bottom of the tank.
If your hot water tanks dip tube has deteriorated to this point, this is a strong indicator that the tank has other components deteriorating inside as well.
We always recommend that you drain your hot water tank at least once a year to remove any sediment that may have settled to the bottom of your tank. When a hot water tank develops a layer of sediment at its bottom, it quickly deteriorates the bottom of the tank. If no water comes out when you open the drain valve, you could try pumping the water out from the top of the tank and then vaccuming the sludge out (I've heard of this being done), but I'd have to say that realistically, your tank has already deteriorated enough that it would be a waste of money. If you have an atmospheric John Wood water heater manufactured in the 2006-2012 range this is a common problem. If you have something other than the tank mentioned above, the problem is likely going to be the thermcouple or the gas valve. If your tank is getting on in years (meaning outside of its warranty period) then it likely isn't worth it to replace the gas valve. In the last few years, one of the improvements made to modern hot water tanks is the addition of a check valve on the cold inlet side of the water heater. We're heard from our customers a number of times that they had just cleaned the top of their hot water tank a few months before and there was no rust at the time. Once the anode rod's life is at an end, rust and corrosion will attack the next weakest target which is usually the galvanized nipples at the top of the tank, or the T&P relief valve. The temperature & pressure relief valve is an important safety feature on your hot water tank.
We would definitely recommend you to any of our friends who might need your service in the future.
I wanted to especially thank Rick & his helper who came out to my house last Friday to put in a new hot water tank. This article explains in detail the procedure for flushing out a water heater to remove waterborne mud, dirt, or debris that can cause water heater noises and may shorten the life of the water heater or reduce the amount of hot water available. The articles at this website will answer most questions about diagnosing and curing noisy domestic water heaters and about the procedure to remove mineral deposits, lime, water scale, silicates, sulfates, aluminates, or silt and sand from a water heater tank. Lime or scale in plumbing systems is caused by hard water as well as silicates, sulfates, and similar materials form water scale that coats the bottom of a hot water tank or the surface of the electrodes in an electric water heater, interfering with proper water heater operation, causing water heater noises, reduction in hot water quantity, increased water heater operating costs, and a shorter water heater life.
But lime or water scale are more difficult to remove from a water heater: manually scraping the tank bottom through the drain opening or use of a de-limer chemical will be needed. Watch out: cleaning and de-liming chemicals such as rust or lime removers can be dangerous if not used according to the manufacturer's instructions.
This means turning off electricity that controls the water heater oil burner or electric heating elements, or for gas fired water heaters, turning off the gas supply to the device.
This normally means turn off the cold water valve (cold water isolation valve) that feeds water into the heater. Sometimes on an older system the shutoff for the inlet to the water heater may not fully stop incoming water.
Drain the water heater - using a common garden hose routed to outdoors or to an indoor building drain lower than the water heater outlet.
Removing the relief valve may also let combustible hydrogen gases formed during deliming (if you use a deliming chemical) vent out of the tank.
When the water heater tank has been fully drained, remove the drain valve and inspect it for clogging or damage - clean or replace the drain valve as needed. Flush the water heater by opening the cold water tank shutoff valve, flushing cold water into the water tank intermittently. As we suggested above and as we explain in more detail below, removing the water heater drain valve entirely may permit the valve and the tank opening to be cleaned more effectively. If mostly silt is what is flushed out of your water heater and no significant scale is observed, when the flush-water runs clean, you can complete the cleaning procedure and return the water heater to operation. Do not turn on the water heater yet: be sure that the water tank has filled and that all trapped air has been run out of the system. Now you can turn on the water heater and allow it to re-heat the water in the hot water tank. Check again for leaks anywhere in the system: at the water heater relief valve, at the water tank drain, at the water heater cold line shutoff valve, and at the tank itself. This article explains using or removing temperature and pressure relief valves on residential water heaters to let air into the hot water tank during draining for cleaning or other purposes. Other plumbers simply remove the relief valve entirely - this is the process recommended by some water heater manufactures such as A.O. When replacing the relief valve use an approved teflon tape or pipe sealant and work neatly and with care so that there will be no leaks at this location. After flushing out the water heater tank, the second step in curing water heater noise or insufficient hot water is to remove scale or lime from the water heater tank. Or see WATER HEATER SCALE DE-LIMING PROCEDURE for the full article on the detailed procedure for removing lime and water heater scale. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia. John Cranor is an ASHI member and a home inspector (The House Whisperer) is located in Glen Allen, VA 23060. Super Iron Out, MSDS Material Data Safety Sheet rust and stain remover; the manufacturer indicates this product can be used to clean rust sediment from water softeners.
Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore. The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. What we want to know is the maximum insulation thickness F that will payback within Y years? So if you want payback within 1 year, you can splurge on up to 25*1-5 = 20 cm of insulation (about 8″ thick).
If your hot water tank is located in a heated area of your home, then during your heating season, the heat dissipated from your tank is not wasted.
If you have a gas hot water tank with a continuous pilot flame and an open flue, your savings from insulating will be much less than predicted above. Although these images show what appears to be a gas hot water tank, I must emphasize that it is not. A couple people have inquired about how the same type of formula might be applied to determine the optimum insulation for a house. So based on this formula if I were building my house from scratch and I could wait 25 years for payback, I would do well to make the walls about 7 times thicker than they are and add 7 times more attic insulation than I currently have. Where I live, the minimum recommended insulation for new construction is for R20 walls and R40 ceilings. Nice work, impressive and highly useful for those of us able to rig things, kinda dangerous for some who THINK they are Mr. I don’t recommend super-insulating a gas hot water tank (with open flue) unless you first convert it to electric and cap the flue as I did. I added some more information to the original article since a couple people have asked about home insulation.
There are a few other factors to consider.If you are in a climate where you use the heat more than the air- I refer to actual balance of heat- not time.
I’m in the market for a new hot water tank, and would like to switch from propane to electric so that I can not only super-insulate, but also preheat with solar.
I inherited an 80 gallon electric hot water tank when I bought my house (in your general area, specifically, Seattle).
First year you put on a KWh mesurement thingie on the powerplug, and a KWh mesurement on the wateroutput aswell.
But remember insulating your hot water tank alot will make the wires inside the tank get HOT and could cause a fire!!! Basically as the diameter of the insulation increases the outer surface also increases which means there may be some point at whith the insulation is counter efective :).
When I have first heard that it sounded very unintuitive, but then I have found some information about that on the internet. I speak from some experience here, I built a double wall superinsulated house in 1984, and have been living there since then. There is also the issue that a metal surface usually feels cool to the touch because metal conducts heat so well. Theory aside, I can say from experience that my tank felt cool to the touch before I added extra insulation, but when I slide my hand in between the tank and the exterior insulation now it feels VERY warm to the touch.
Since my water heater is on borrowed time, I probably won’t do much with the current one. The savings is more modest than insulating your attic, but it’s also much cheaper and easier to do. Additionally, the water heater is cylindrical, meaning that the circumference grows with insulation amount, but you get the basic idea. You are correct that the water heater is cylindrical and to keep things simple I have not accounted for the increasing circumference as the insulation thickness grows. Last year the company I work for replaced the roof, removing a lot of polystyrene insulation. The wife and granddaughter came out to shop the other week, within 15 min it started getting hot with the three of us in there!
Great article, however you are missing a very important element when it comes to insulation. As you increase insulation thickness on a flat surface of given area A the resistance to heat transfer increases, as expected and the heat lost to convection from the outside of the insulation remains the same. However with a cylinder such as a tank, as you increase the radius of the insulation the surface area rises, and you will reach a point where the loss from convection actually increases to above the savings from thicker insulation. This is known as the critical radius and can be calculated by simply taking K the thermal conductivity coefficient of the insulation, and the convection coefficient for air.
Porcelain enamel hot water storage tank for solar and heat pump , Manufacturers from Changzhou A.O. HOT WATER PRESSURE LOSS - CONTENTS: How to diagnose sudden loss of hot water supply in a building. This article explains how to diagnose the sudden loss of hot water pressure, quantity, or flow in a building. Before you start fixing or buying stuff to fix a hot water problem hot water problems and diagnostic guides for all kinds of hot water troubles are summarized at WATER HEATER PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS. We suddenly lost hot water pressure [only] in the whole house, a week ago (7 years old townhouse: basement, main floor and upper floor).
My plumber doesna€™t seem to find out the cause of the sudden lost of Hot Water Pressure in the whole house. We assume you mean that hot water pressure and flow are suddenly badly diminished in a building, not that pressure or flow have stopped entirely.
We also note that you refer to a hot water system that uses a tank, not a tankless coil to produce the building's hot water. If mineral clogging of the building plumbing system is a problem, usually we notice that hot water pressure is worse than cold water pressure, but also that the hot water pressure declines over time, rather than appearing to suddenly diminish severely.

Often the problem with loss of both hot and cold water pressure at plumbing fixtures is local clogging at a fixture such as faucet strainer and shower head. It is unlikely that fixture or strainer or shower head clogging would explain a hot water pressure sudden loss at all plumbing fixtures; usually that clogging builds up over time. But a similar problem could have occurred right at the water heater, or in water heater piping near the point of hot water origin.
But let's distinguish between clogging of runs of water supply piping in a building, and a specific point clog or blockage. A clogged water filter - would normally affect both hot and cold water pressure unless someone installed a water filter just upstream of water entering the hot water heater.
As Carson Dunlop Associates' illustrations below show, a broken water control valve stem can obstruct or block water flow through the valve. For example, if a chunk of scale happened to flow into the piping leaving the hot water heater tank, or into a valve in the piping system, that could cause a blockage. Watch out: as Carson Dunlop Associates' illustration (left) shows, for safety reasons we normally expect to see a shutoff valve only on the cold water line into the water heater, not on the hot water heater tank outlet side.
Also, WATER HEATER FLUSH PROCEDURE discusses how to flush scale and debris - which you may have already tried, BUT maybe without recalling the extent of scale you found you may need to take another look at the chance of scale or debris clogging a valve or pipe or pipe elbow at the water heater. Check all of the plumbing control valves feeding the water heater to be sure no one closed one of them, and if there are shutoff valves on the hot water piping system ahead of most of the building plumbing fixtures, check those for operation and blockage too. Thanks to Carson Dunlop Associates, a Toronto Home Inspection Firm and Home Inspection Educator, for permission to use sketches shown in this article. Continue reading at HOT WATER PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below. Or see HOT WATER IMPROVEMENTS where we diagnose lost hot water pressure when cold water pressure is OK. If your tank is more than six years old (9-12 is most common) and is leaking from someplace that you cannot find, it is likely that it has deteriorated to the point that it is leaking through a side-wall seam, a welded join, or steel thread has rusted through. Corrosion on the inside of your tank has deteriorated the dip tube, coated your electric elements, or has over-worked the gas valve. Just like hot air, hot water rises so the dip tube's job is to get the cold water down to the burner where the heat is.
What happens is that the flame has to burn for an extended period because the sediment acts as a buffer between the flame and the water that its trying to heat. A thermocouple is a device made of disimilar metals that are combined at its tip and that when heated produces electricity (30 millivolts).
Replacing the gas valve is something you should have a licensed gas fitter (us) do for you.
Its got to go someplace, the hot water tank is already full of water, so when the water is heated, the tank will actually swell a bit, and so will the water lines in the house.
Usually made of magnesium (sometimes zinc) the anode rod is the easiest part to rust in a hot water tank and in fact, that is its job.
It is typically factory set to release water at temperatures exceeding 210 degrees Fahrenheit or at pressures exceeding 150psi.
As mentioned previously, this would mean that the anode rod has run its course and the T&P is the next easiest target.
The water tank works properly so far, installation work was great, even the after-sale service is still impressive.
Advice and photo-guide to de-liming and de-scaling hot water heaters - Scale formation in water heaters and methods of prevention.
Silt and soil debris can also collect in a water heater tank where it can cause similar problems even if the water supply is not hard. In fact if your water heater is quite noisy, it will probably be easier to remove un-wanted mineral deposits from the water tank than it will be later if you wait until the heater is no longer making much noise (because the mineral layer has solidified). Water heaters, their heating source (oil or gas burner or electricity or solar hot water), and particularly their relief valves include critical safety components.
In that case it will be necessary to turn off the building water supply during the tank draining and cleaning procedure.
Soak the relief valve in de-limer or in vinegar if its sensor or other components are coated with mineral deposits, or simply replace the valve with a new one (to be extra safe) of the same rating. To flush a water heater tank you open the water heater tank valve and let water run until it flows clean. The test lever should open and close the valve smoothly and the temperature probe should be undamaged. Let hot water run from a nearby plumbing fixture for at least two minutes after you observe that no more air appears to be coming out of the piping.
If leaks are found you'll need to shut down the system, let it cool, remove water pressure and water, and repair the leak. If the unit is an electric water heater, you'll also need to remove scale from the electric water heater elements. Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. June, 1940 (Layfayette Indiana) commonly referred to in some references as "Purdue University Bulletin No. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. This is the thickness at which the cost of the insulation exactly equals the savings in the the first Y years (ignoring the cost of your own labor). This is because the main source of heat loss in such a tank is not through the outside walls of the tank but up the chimney.
This is about the same price as some insulating blankets designed specifically for hot water tanks, but it is enough for about 12″ of insulation around my tank which is more than 5 times what you would get with an insulating blanket. It’s best practice to use only non-flammable materials for insulating any heating appliance.
A gas hot water tank cannot be insulated on all sides like this since it would interfere with draft and could result in poor combustion and possibly carbon monoxide poisoning. A house has the added complexity of different insulation thicknesses for attic, walls, basements, crawlspaces, doors and windows, and three modes of heat loss: air leaks, conduction to the air, and conduction into the ground. In particular, depending where you live and how well your home is designed for passive solar heating, it’s likely that solar gain may be significant compared to losses into the ground. It would be neat to see a similar calculation for the optimum amount of insulation to use when building a house.
I think if you experienced the bending process and held the final result in your hands you would have more confidence in it.
The dangers are much greater (explosion, fire and carbon monoxide poisoning) with a gas tank, and the gains from adding insulation are much less since several hundred watts are dissipated into the tube at the center of the tank and up the chimney regardless of how much you insulate the outside of the tank. I don’t know for certain, but based on my calculations it seems that recommended R-Values (R20 walls and R40 ceilings) are based on about a 20 year payback. My guess is I’d simply have to disable the top heating element (leaving the bottom one enabled), and install a new water-level sensing switch to cause filling to stop at the desired height. The tank is always completely full of water, so modifying it as you described is not possible. I can’t provide any calculations, but suspect your figures of R80 walls and R133 ceilings are excessive.
They have busted thru my cedar siding in several spots, and nest in the cavity between the two walls. We never used to be AC people, but since the waterfurnace included that, we have become somewhat hooked. If you use an infrared thermometer you will find that a metal surface that feels cool to the touch may actually be many degrees above ambient temperature.
I did notice that my pressure valve was very warm at the top, so at least I can add some insulation there. I think modern water heaters usually have 1-2 inches of polyurethane insulation, giving an R-value of 6-15 or so (calculating R-value on a cylinder is complicated). It’ll take 10+, maybe 20+ years to recoup, but since most people have plain electric water heaters, they could recoup the costs in 5 years or less. Yes, T is the original insulation thickness, but in this case I am saying C is what it would cost to add T more cm of insulation. I’ve assumed that most people will not be adding so much insulation that this has a significant effect on the results. I’m using the poly sheets to insulate the walls and ceilings, maybe the roof if I have enough. Neither the service provider nor the domain owner maintain any relationship with the advertisers. We explain the difference between slowing or poor hot water supply and a hot water supply that suddenly is not there at all, and we give a diagnostic procedure to find and fix the trouble. We drained the hot water tank, checked the various valves in the house but still same weak pressure.
So our diagnosis here is going to look for things that might produce a sudden severe reduction in hot water pressure - some sort of blockage or valve problem in the building water piping. Indeed a scrap of mineral crud could break loose and suddenly clog an individual fixture strainer, but the chances of that happening at the same time at all individual fixtures just doesn't seem likely. For example, a failed, or clogged control valve, pipe section, pipe elbow, or even the outlet at the hot water tank itself could be come blocked. Globe valves (below left) tend to most restrict water flow compared with the gate valve (center) and ball valve (right). For example if a chunk of mineral debris has escaped the tank and is clogging a pipe, elbow, or valve.
If you open the water heater drain and turn back on the cold water supply to the water heater, and if you do NOT see powerful water flow out of the heater tank drain, then the drain valve could itself be blocked by debris (most common) or alternately you might have poor water flow INTO the water heater.
It seems that every month we are replacing a tank that was left to deteriorate to the point where water damage was caused to their home.
If you've noticed that your water heater produces hot water, but only for a short period of time, unscrew a couple of your aerators and look for some small chunks of white plastic inside of them. As the water heats, it rises to the top of the tank where the hot outlet is and from there heads off to your shower or sink or whatever fixture is calling for hot water. Of the tanks we replace, 1 in 5 are so full of sediment that we have to pump the water out of the top of the tank. This is an inexpensive part, but changing the limit switch is a very short-lived fix and doesn't solve the underlying problem. Modern Bradford White tanks use a thermopile which is basically a number of thermocouples in a casing that produces 750 millivolts (enough to run its ICON System™ gas valve). If your tank is getting old, the cost of the gas valve and labour doesn't really make sense when you take into consideration that the tank is deteriorating inside as well. Before check valves were an integral part of water heaters, the water could expand into both the hot and cold sides of the waterlines system, check valves reduces the available expansion area of your waterlines by half.
So when you open a hot water faucet someplace in your home, the pressure in your hot water tank is released out of that faucet, and the cold water coming into the tank pushes the plastic float down out of the way, allowing cold water into the tank.
Once rust at these points becomes evident you can know the life your hot water heater is nearing its end. Install a sediment filter on the incoming water supply to avoid this problem in the first place. If water does not flow out of the water heater drain valve the valve may have become clogged with mineral or silt debris. If there is the slightest doubt about the condition of the valve, or if there is corrosion indicating that the valve was previously leaking, it should be replaced with a new one of the proper rating for your water heater.

Removing the relief valve makes it easy to inspect this critical safety component itself, and it's easy to clean or replace the safety valve at that time. If you can tolerate payback within 2 years, add up to 25*2-5 = 45 cm of insulation (about 18″ thick). You will pay for the same amount of heat whether it is produced by your hot water tank or your heating system. I converted my gas hot water tank to electric both because I wanted to reduce heat loss up the chimney and because I wanted to run the tank on a timer. I converted this tank to electric precisely so I could insulated it well and put it on a timer.
So it looks like my house insulation has MUCH less than a 25 year payback period at today’s heating costs.
But I hope I got my main point across: the optimum amount of insulation depends on what payback period you can tolerate. I bet if you target a 10-15 year payback, it probably makes economic sense to put 1 to 2 ft of insulation in the walls and 2-3 feet of insulation in the attic. The likelihood of a short seems no greater than in it’s original application as a stove element. This loss cannot be eliminated without capping the tank (which cannot be done safely while it is operating on gas). It’s just a question of how long it will take for the additional cost of insulating to be payed back in reduced energy costs. If you expect your home to last 40 years or more, you could double the recommended R-values and still achieve payback over the lifetime of your home. I’ve updated the post with a wall area of 350m^2 (60m perimeter by a little under 6m high). But it was built over time, so for the first 15 years we didn’t have the inner wall insulated (nor drywall).
For typical changes in thickness (say just doubling or tripling the original thickness), the formula given should be a good approximation.
In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois). But a broken stem on a gate valve can also leave the valve stuck partly or even fully closed (or open), regardless of how you may be able to turn the valve handle. But if during draining you found clots of mineral scale, that adds to the suspicion of a scale problem and blockage. There have been times we have come out and discovered that the leak was unrelated to the tank itself (such as an overly exuberant trap primer) and was thankfully fixable, but this is rare. There is a fine screen at the bottom of the water heater that lets air into the sealed burn chamber. The sacrificial anode rod is made to last (to rust) for at least as long as the warranty on the hot water tank. If for some reason (faulty aquastat or extreme sediment buildup) your tank begins to overheat, pressure will simultaneously build. We use Bradford White's Water Heater Hauler system (shown below) as the ultimate precaution.
Purdue's chart shows the number of pounds of lime deposited per year as a function of the water usage in gallons per day, with an assumed 10 grains of water hardness.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Therefore, when you calculate A above, you should only consider the period of the year that you are not heating your home. A side benefit of the modification was that I could benefit more from super insulating the tank. For more information on the conversion process read Convert your gas hot water tank to electric. The lifetime of a house is also much longer so it makes sense to consider interest rates and potentially increasing heating costs. Of course the cost calculation would also need to factor in the additional lumber and the reduced square footage of living space due to thicker walls. Depending on the size of the home, the climate, weather-tightness, I think you might find that the optimum insulation thickness is reached more quickly in the case of a home than in the case of a hot water tank.
Steel pots are used on these elements all the time, with a danger of electrocution to any person touching the pot if the element ever shorted out so I think these elements are designed to be quite safe in that regard. In a house with heat strip heating and electric heater(and heater is running), you save almost nothing as long as airflow is good and the WH is not up against an outside wall.
Since the Roxul is so thick, it can even completely envelop the TPR valve while providing an empty space for the lever to safely operate. When this happens, there is no longer a dip tube forcing the cold water down to the burner, so the cold water is able to enter the top of the tank then immediately exit back out through the hot side without adequately being heated. This generates the 30mV (or 750mV) needed to power a tiny electromaget that keeps the pilot valve open.
If you are getting short bursts of pressure when you first turn on a hot faucet, or no pressure at all, then the check valve is likely stuck.
If you're tank has an eight year warranty and is now nine years old, you can be reasonably sure that your anode rod has rusted through. For obvious safety concerns (think kaboom) this extra heat and pressure needs to be released from your tank and this is your T&P's job. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. It certainly is when you consider most water heater blankets sold for the purpose are only around 4 or 5 cm thick (2″) at best. My hot water tank is located in an unheated garage, so any heat it dissipates is wasted regardless of whether I’m currently heating my home. I suspect that based on fuel prices when the house was built it may have had a 10 year payback. From a moral standpoint, the insulation will last the lifetime of the home, so it makes sense to use a payback period equal to the lifetime of the home, even if you don’t expect to live there that long.
This is because in the case of a home there are some free heat sources: solar gain, occupant body heat, lighting and other electrical appliances.
The thermal resistance between Tw and Ts (the existing tank insulation) is very high compared to the thermal resistance between Ts and Tair (just a thin boundary layer of air). They also suggested putting a thermometer on the tank, then covering it with insulation to evaluate. You can add more R-value for cheaper by slicing Roxul up into long rectangles that you fit around the pipes. If this screen doesn't let enough air inside the chamber, the flame rolls out towards the front of the burner assembly, triggers (burns out) the safety high limit (it's doing its job!) which no longer allows power from the thermocouple to keep the gas pilot lit. We have shown up to replace a water heater and found that the home owner had removed the T&P and replaced it with a solid plug. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material. Where I live electricity costs about $0.07 per kWh so a typical electric water heater with no additional insulation might cost about $150 per year to operate. First, let’s assume solar gain and losses into the ground cancel each other out exactly so we can ignore them. In that case even the suggested insulation for an energy efficient home seems insufficient since most homes last longer than 20 years. I have a heat exchanger that gets the water hotter than the electric as long as the air is on . The result will be that Ts is much nearer to Tair than it is to Tw, even though a significant amount of heat may be flowing through the wall.
Obviously this won’t work in some cramped areas, but in many houses, the majority of pipe has several inches of open space around it, except where it crosses joists. Sometimes, when cleaning around the hot water tank, the wire lead to the thermocouple can be snagged on a broom or something which may pull the thermocouple out of the flame. When we've taken the cold side inlet apart and looked at the check valve, it was covered in scale from a deteriorating tank. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order.
Depending on use, perhaps $50 of this is actually used to raise the temperature of the incoming cold water.
Essentially what it means is that adding insulation is cheap compared to the cost of wasted heat. Second, lets assume interest (which is an incentive to keep your money in the bank) and rising heating costs (which is an incentive to spend your money on insulation) also cancel each other out exactly. Oh, I have the water temp set to the lowest, about 120 degrees, and the heater was a more efficient one 12 years ago when I purchased it.
In plain English, any heat that comes through the wall is immediately dissipated to the air, so the surface temperature will not be much warmer than the ambient air temperature. In our case, simply changing the check valve would not have made good sense since the tank was already too far gone. In this article I want to demonstrate that it usually makes sense to add MUCH more insulation around a hot water tank than you might otherwise think. Given that a 4 or 5 year payback isn’t unreasonable this analysis seems to indicate that for all intents and purposes there basically is no such thing as too much insulation for a hot water tank.
Finally, to avoid the issue of different insulation thicknesses, rather than calculating an additional thickness F, let’s calculate a thickness ratio R of the new thickness to the original thickness and assume we change the insulation thickness by the same ratio everywhere (including doors and windows which may not be practical but makes the math a lot easier).
The ceiling area is about 200 m2.A  So my total original cost of insulation is C = 350*$6 + 200*$3 = $2700. If your T&P is intermittently letting water go, it might just be doing its job and keeping you safe! It makes economic sense to fill ALL the available space around a hot water tank with insulation.
He also used a continuous, unbroken vapor barrier between the two walls, with all electrical and plumbing routed on the inside of the vapor barrier, resulting in an extremely well sealed building envelope. Smith water heaters made in the AO Smith factory located in Ashland city Tennessee and have been branded as John Wood. For a temporary fix you could pick up and install a new T&P valve (make sure you get one with the proper temperature and pressure relief rating for your water heater), but this is likely just a band-aid solution that may not address the actual problem. Assuming you will be insulating the outside of the tank with a similar material, the power consumption to maintain a given tank temperature will be inversely proportional to the total insulation thickness. So if you add another 5cm of insulation, doubling the total thickness, you will half the cost per year to maintain the tank at temperature. With a little math, it’s not difficult to figure out how much insulation can be added to achieve payback within a certain number of years. We will definately call the guys at Home Plumbing Service next time we need a job done well!
That’s not much, but within the first two years it is enough to pay for the cost of the insulation which validates the above calculations. The savings would be greater if not for the fact that I already modified the tank for high efficiency operation on a timer.

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