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Old 02-09-2009, 12:19 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by gma2rjc View Post
I suppose it's only possible to put an electric water heater on a timer (great idea!) but other than turning the temp. down on a gas water heater, is there a way to cut their energy use? I thought about wrapping insulation (meant for a water heater) around it, but it feels cool to the touch, so it doesn't seem like the insulation would help.

I saw on the tv show 'Deconstruction', the episode about the A.O.Smith gas water heaters and how much more energy efficient they are. Of course, probably ANY hot water heater is more energy efficient than the standard gas water heater. I'm guessing that the tankless are better too.

My uncle said that when he was a kid (He's about 61 now), they had to go in the basement and turn the water heater on when they wanted hot water and God forbid they should ever forget to turn it off when they were done. If you forgot to shut it off, you might spend Saturday afternoon picking the shingles and siding from your house off of someone else's lawn two blocks away (ka-blooweey!).
Let me expand on these thoughts a little bit more in depth:
As said previously your savings is about $0.25 per week when completely shut off, using a $50 timer will take 15 years to payback. I think the power companies perpetuated this ruse to save them high dollar daytime grid time.

You are right about the outside temperature, if it is cool then all is good, a $20 blanket only makes the seller rich.

I'm not quite as old as your uncle (close) and am not sure when they introduced the TPR (Temperature Pressure relief Valve) but if it failed or there were none then it could blow sky high.

You are absolutely correct about turning the temperature down, why waste the money to heat water just to temper it with cold water so you can use it. Cold (warm) water detergent and bleach is all you need.

Even the hottest of water, beyond sterile steam (270F? memory?) will not kill everything, bleach is needed for all drains especially your kitchen sink and underwear. Note: if you have a septic tank or cesspool use it sparingly.


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Old 02-09-2009, 11:22 AM   #62
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Thanks for all your comments.
I am still of the opinion that an extra insulating layer around an ELECTRIC water heater is a good thing. Let's not forget that most of them take nearly 2 hours to heat a tank full of water from cold to hot.
Gas, on the other hand is more like a 20 minute recovery time.
And I also believe that the gas fired tankless water heaters do indeed save money, for the simple reason that you are not maintaining 30 or 40 gallons of water at your high temperature (120F for example) as opposed to using it as soon as it is heated.
They are not ideal for everyone, as they will only provide a certain amount of temperature rise. So, if you have water that is being heated from 50F as opposed to 70F, you may find that your end result is that the water is not hot enough.
I am aware that there are many different models out there, and some of them have high flow and very high temperatures that they will get the water to. However, along with all that impatience goes a much higher cost for fuel to heat the water.
I wish you well in your transition to going off grid.
I have been off for nearly 12 years now.
You are quite right about the LED being well worth buying on solar power.
Our kwh cost here in the wintertime is probably in the area of $1. That would be because of the frequent generator use.
In the summer, we go several months with no generator use at all. I have never bothered to calculate what our overall coast is for power, but it is quite a bit more than the typical grid price when everything is added in.
For example, we have just got a new set of batteries. Something you have to do about every 7 years. You get to pay for that in one lump.
For me, $16 would be a very quick payback, simply because of our high cost of power.


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