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Water heater blankets stir debate on energy costs

Do-it-yourselfers gain advantage

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Dear Barry, In a recent column, you recommended that a homeowner install a thermal insulating blanket on his water heater to conserve energy. I strongly disagree for the following reasons: 1. Manufacturers void their warranties if the labels on their water heaters are obscured. 2. Modern water heaters are internally insulated, and no significant energy savings is derived from an added blanket. In fact, the cost to have a plumber install a thermal blanket is about $250. Tests show that the added blanket saves an average of $8.35 per month. In my garage office, I sit next to my water heater. The thermostat is set one mark above the manufacturer's recommended setting and the casing is never hot or even warm. My stereo system on the left puts out more heat than is lost through the water heater casing on the right. I've bought a lot of recorded music with the $250 I saved. – Russell Dear Russell, On the matter of water heater labels, I agree with you. Those who install thermal ...