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Old 03-19-2013, 02:57 PM   #1
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Hot Water Heater On/Off issues


I just installed a TED to track my energy usage and I now can see in the graph each of my electric devices and when they turn on and off.
Everything seems normal EXCEPT my hot water heater.

I started noticing that at night when my basement is COLDER and there was no usage the water heater was turning on LESS often. I thought this was interesting and made sure to pay attention to it during a 3 day vacation when I knew there would be NO water usage at all.

While I was gone for the 3 days the hot water heater seemed to have absolutely no rhyme or reason to it's turning on and heating the water. At night it turned on LESS then during the DAY when the surrounding air temp would be warmer.

You can also see what the fridge does and it's almost like you could set a clock to how perfectly it warms and then cycles on. What I would expect to also see for the hot water heater when there is no usage.

Any ideas on why this is happening would be greatly appreciated, maybe a bad thermostat? Bad water heater?

Blue line is wattage and red is voltage. Wattage is where you really see devices turn on and off.

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Last edited by gotnospice; 03-19-2013 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:13 PM   #2
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Hot Water Heater On/Off issues


Also I know those giant wattage spikes are my water heater because I've shut if off at the breaker to make sure I was looking at the correct data. Also during this trip I made sure nothing else was on except the fridge and water heater.

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Old 03-19-2013, 06:38 PM   #3
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Hot Water Heater On/Off issues


Isnt this what you would expect? During the day, hot water is being used to wash clothes, dishes, etc, so the heater would turn on more often, right? Or am I not understanding what your issue is?
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:40 PM   #4
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Yes, that's what I would expect IF I was home, but this graph is from when I was gone for 3 days and no water was being used, hot or cold.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:08 PM   #5
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what is your location? Gas is more efficient than electric. How old is your water heater? Brand?
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:16 PM   #6
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Hot Water Heater On/Off issues


In Boston the basement is almost always around 45F winter and summer. And it's a fairly new (2 years) GE electric water heater.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:27 PM   #7
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That is a seriously cold basement IMO. Maybe put a heavy insulation blanket on the HWH and insulate your hot pipes? Another possibility would be to put your HWH in a well insulated furnace room.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:29 PM   #8
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Done and done. But that still wouldn't explain that graph, that's the thing.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:46 PM   #9
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Hot Water Heater On/Off issues


if you were gone why not just turn the water heater off? when we go away the water heater (gas) and the water gets turned off. you could always put a timer on it so it can only run during a 2-3 hour period in the morning and another one in the evening, when most use hot water.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:37 PM   #10
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DannyT that's not the issue. The point it I think something broken because it should be acting like it does at night ALL day when no one is home. I'm wondering if the behavior is normal, which I think it's not.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:01 PM   #11
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Hot Water Heater On/Off issues


Have you factored in that hot water rises? In some cases hot water will convect up through the pipes. Be sure you have heat trap nipples on the heater. Just an idea..... Also, water heater thermostats are not that accurate. So slight temp changes can turn on the element
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyT View Post
if you were gone why not just turn the water heater off? when we go away the water heater (gas) and the water gets turned off. you could always put a timer on it so it can only run during a 2-3 hour period in the morning and another one in the evening, when most use hot water.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:37 AM   #13
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Hot Water Heater On/Off issues


Interesting...do you know whether or not you have a backflow preventer, pressure reducing valve or expansion tank installed?

Also I'm not sure how your basement can be around 45 in the summer & winter. The average ground temp once you get lower than about 3ft is usually 50-55F. Boston can have some very cold winters and very hot summers which would probably effect your basement temp. Is your basement air conditioned by your furnace/ac?

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Old 03-20-2013, 10:07 AM   #14
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Maybe you have a leak somewhere or the T&P valve is letting water out.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:37 AM   #15
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I just looked and I think it already has heat trap nipples installed. As well the PEX from the outflow is very cool, not even warm above the outflow, so I don't think anything's leaking...

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