Insulation air space on a water heater

Q. I have installed a Wrappitup insulation blanket on my electric water heater, but it seems to be too short and not large enough in circumference. Why do the directions say to start the cover 4 inches from the botton on both electric as well as gas heaters? Should I put insulation on the top of the heater as well? Mrs. K. Badger West Bloomfield, Mich.

A. "Air space through the insulation cover shall be provided around the supply wire for a distance of 1 inch to provide air circulation," says the State of Oregon Code, SSC Sec. 5308 (e), amended April 24, 1979.

It continues: "Inspection plates covering thermostats and providing access to heating coils and electrical junciton box usually on top of the heater shall remain exposed without insulation cover to minimize increased temperature which may disrupt the function of the equipment and void the UL listing."

The manufacturer of your water-heater insulation, RSA, PO Box CE, Jackson, CA 95624, explains: "In producing the Wrappitup we have to be certain that consumers understand instructions, and provide a safe product for consumer use. Rather than confuse, we must be certain that our product is installed correctly and safely in thousands of individual applications.

"That is the reason we do not recommend a top plate.

"We have great respect for the study that has been done in Oregon and feel this will become nationwide.

"The product your reader purchased was our A72 blanket that fits water heaters to 52 gallons. If installed according to instructions the circumference will easily fit all standard 52-gallon tanks."

The company says it recommends that the insulation be started 4 inches from the floor. As the blanket is designed for use with natural gas, LP, oil, and electric water heaters, the instructions are designed primarily for safety and convenience.

Wrappitup does not recommend kraftbacked insulation, because of its flammability.

Paul Cook, president of RSA, adds: "We do not wish your reader to have a Wrappitup job that is not right, so we will be pleased to send her another at no charge, through your or directly to her."

Can't beat those apples, eh, Mrs. Badger?

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