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April 19, 2014  |  Login
Insulate in Normally Forgotten Locations: Pipes, Water Heater, and Attic
By Eric Corey Freed


Water heaters consume nearly 20% of all the energy used in your home. They run all day, even if you don’t need any hot water. To cut that water-heating bill in half, turn down your water heater to 120°F and insulate it with a wrap blanket, available at any hardware store. Just be careful not to cover the air vents.

Tip: If your gas water heater is more than ten years old, it’s inefficient and should be replaced. When shopping for a new water heater, choose one with a timer so it only heats water when your family needs it.

While you’re down in the basement, add insulation wrap to the hot water pipes, especially if they run in a crawl space. It takes minutes to do, but will save you noticeably on your water-heating bill.

If your home was built before 1981, chances are you have inadequate insulation in your attic. Place insulation between both the floor joists and roof joists in the attic. Although any insulation will do, spray-in natural cellulose made from recycled newsprint is the best choice for the attic floor; formaldehyde-free or recycled cotton batt insulation is best for the roof. Be sure to install the insulation with the foil side facing the sun.

While you’re up there, install a solar attic fan. For around $300, this exhaust fan operates from a small solar cell that sits hidden on your roof. When it gets too hot and stuffy in the attic, the fan kicks on automatically to vent the hot air from your attic.



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