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Q: I have searched the FAQ's and other pages on this site and can't find any information about using an aftermarket insulation wrap around a gas fired tank water heater. I will be replacing one soon. It is 25 years old, has not been maintained by previous owners, and I will be adding a recirculation system. What I am debating is whether to buy a tank with 1 inch insulation and an after market wrap to save the money or to buy a tank with 2 inch insulation.

The water heater is in an unheated but insulated garage that typically averages 40-45 degrees through our New Jersey winters. Are there any pros and cons to wrapping a tank other than being unable to spot a leak early?

A: Hello: Wrapping a tank with fiberglass usually is not equal to an inch of foam insulation. Also, it is prone to shifting and restricting air into the heater. I'd get a well insulated heater (some come with up to three inches of foam) and then get 3/4" pipe insulation for both hot and cold lines as they can lose quite a lot of heat. Do look into a demand system, https://www.gothotwater.com as it wastes far less energy than conventional systems do. Have you checked fixture flow rates? Nag, nag!. -- Larry (12/27/09)