How to Stop Water Heater Condensation


Hot water heaters will typically condensate from the introduction of very cold water. Condensation can also form on new heaters that are being used for the first time. Generally once the hot water heater is brought up to temperature, the condensation will cease. If the water heaters capacity is too small, condensation may be a constant problem that results from cold water continually entering the tank. Preventing water heater condensation is not only doable, but the actions taken will also make the unit more efficient.

Things You'll Need

  • Hot water heater insulated jacket
  • Pipe insulation
  • Heat traps (see Resources)
  • Drain wastewater heat recovery system (see Resources)
  • Install a water heater insulation jacket. This 2 to 3 inch thick fiberglass cover is lined with plastic on the outside. The cover will completely wrap the heater. Follow the manufacturers instructions as various types are available for both electric and gas heaters.

  • Use foam insulation pipe covers. Place the 6-foot long rubber insulators over both the hot and cold water pipes. Insulate every inch of the water piping. The insulation comes preslit and in various pipe sizes that range from 1/2 inch up to 1 inch in diameter. Install the covers from the cold-water inlet to the waters heaters pipe entrance.

  • Install heat trap loops on the hot and cold water lines to and from the heater. The loops are simply made by forming the piping into a circular design. This will stop the water from thermosiphoning. Thermosiphoning occurs when the water is allowed to freely flow from a cold-water source to a higher temperature draw. The loops impeded this type of water flow.

  • Establish a drain wastewater heat recovery system. Coil 3/8-inch diameter soft copper piping around the waste drain of the kitchen sink and bathtub drains. This insulated heat exchanger is connected alongside the cold-water intake line of the heater. Part of the cold water is preheated from the waste heat that goes down the water systems drain. It can save as much as 20 to 25 percent in energy consumption by warming the cold water.

  • Check the gas vent piping to ensure proper size. Gas hot water heaters need plenty of flue draw to remove not only the spent gases, but the water condensate from the gas being consumed. Small diameter vent piping can impede the flow of these gases and keep moisture inside the combustion chamber.

Tips & Warnings

  • Timers can also be installed on the hot water electrical systems. This device may not help condensation, but will operate the heater during the hours it is most used. The result can be lower utility bills.

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