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toolmanwannabe 09-16-2005 12:30 AM

Timer for hot water heater
 
I've heard that as much as 40% of ones electric bill is due to the hot water heater. If this is true, I'd like to install a timer to only heat the water in the mornings and evenings. Is there a recommendation out there for a specific brand and how difficult is it to install? How much do they cost?

I've also heard that wrapping the tank with some kind of insulation will help cut down on energy usage as well. I've never seen this before. Any good suggestions for this as well?

Thanks.

plumguy 09-16-2005 08:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by toolmanwannabe
I've heard that as much as 40% of ones electric bill is due to the hot water heater. If this is true, I'd like to install a timer to only heat the water in the mornings and evenings. Is there a recommendation out there for a specific brand and how difficult is it to install? How much do they cost?

I've also heard that wrapping the tank with some kind of insulation will help cut down on energy usage as well. I've never seen this before. Any good suggestions for this as well?

Thanks.


How old is you're heater? Modern water heaters are very well insulated and most manufacturers(should be a sticker on the tank) do not recommend wrapping them. However, insulating you're pipes and installing low flow aerators and shower heads is recommended.

As far timers they are really not worth it. At least this is what I've been told. Most electric water heaters run about 3 hours a day and the new modern ones it is less than 2 hours a day. I stand to be corrected on this info, but it certainly would be a good idea to contact you're electric company as some use to have a day/night program. Years ago the electric companies would replace shower heads and insulate pipes and heaters for free it was part of some energy saving program!!

'Andyman 09-16-2005 08:27 PM

How expensive is your hydro?
 
Hi Ben,

Read your post and sent you a private message. Check it out. Anyway, I don't know what hydro costs in your area, but up her in Canada, it isn't too bad. Your concern about hydro costs however, takes me back a few years when I lived on the other side of the Atlantic. We used to have timers because the cost of hydro was out of this world. I understand what you are getting at, only to have your water heater on at certain times of the day and have lived through that. One thing we had in Britain was a unit in the shower which drew from the cold water supply and instantly heated the water through an electric coil when it was turned on. It was a big saver as you didn't have to have the hot water tank on all the time. I'm surprised that I have never seen them anywhere in North America. Any saving is good, right? Then again, I've lived on this side of the pond for almost 40 years and become spoiled.

Mike Swearingen 09-22-2005 01:01 PM

Toolman,
The correct average is actually 14% of an electric bill for electric water heaters.
Insulation blankets are recommended to be used on water heaters in an unheated space such as a garage, but aren't really necessary on most modern well insulated water heaters in heated space.
Good water heater timers run about $40 bucks, and are easy to install inline in the 240v supply to your water heater (near the heater itself).
I had one for years set to be on a couple hours in the a.m. and then in the p.m., but my wife was continually flipping it on manually. I finally just bypassed it. I was never able to tell any difference in our electric bill with it.
Your call. Good luck!
Mike

Teetorbilt 09-22-2005 03:38 PM

This has been a topic since the energy crunch in the 70's and I don't know of anyone who actually crunched the numbers.

What it boils down to is this: Always on, temp maintained; the elements come on for short periods of time 4-6 times a day. Timer; the water in the tank gets cooler over time so that the elements stay on longer but fewer times a day.

Personally, I like to know that I can come home and take a shower mid-day if I need to.

BigA 09-23-2005 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by toolmanwannabe
I've heard that as much as 40% of ones electric bill is due to the hot water heater. If this is true, I'd like to install a timer to only heat the water in the mornings and evenings. Is there a recommendation out there for a specific brand and how difficult is it to install? How much do they cost?

I've also heard that wrapping the tank with some kind of insulation will help cut down on energy usage as well. I've never seen this before. Any good suggestions for this as well?

Thanks.

I seriously doubt that you are using 40% of your electric bill for hot water. Unless of course you have a bunch of kids that all LOVE to take really long showers. Even in that case, the kids are probably leaving the lights, TVs, computers, etc.. on all the time as well to balance it out. :)

However, the timer will not likely save you much $$. Most modern water heaters require very little to maintain the temperature. It is the heating of the cold water that uses up the juice. Once you make sure that your water heater is properly insulated, then the only effective way to reduce the cost is to use less water.

A timer is really only useful if you are trying to discourage excess usage by some irresponsible person (like a teenage kid left at home all day) - but even then you will probably find it is more hassle than it is worth.

Some power companies will give you a discount on the electricity for your hot water - however, you will have to pay to ahve a new meter installed. Depending on how much hot water you use, it may or may not be worth it.

toolmanwannabe 09-23-2005 03:45 PM

Thanks for all the responses. Seems like there is not as much payoff than I thought. I will probably skip the timer.


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