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Old 04-03-2013, 10:40 AM   #1
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Water heater savings from using a timer


When we built our new house, I installed a timer on the water heater so that it comes on from 6pm to 11pm. Did not see to have enough hot water even though only taking shower at 8pm. ( have a 50 gal tank).

Plumber said to take off timer because he thinks I am not really saving that much electricity. He said that the heater element probably only comes on infrequently because the water in the tank is staying warm, thus not really saving that much.

Another plumber who has a timer on his tank thinks it is saving him a good bit of money.

Question - Am I saving very much electricity by having a timer on the hwh so that it is only on 5 hrs a day or not? If no hot water is being used during the day, how often would the heating element be turning itself on?

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Old 04-03-2013, 11:03 AM   #2
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Water heater savings from using a timer


I've seen formulas for this before but I don't quite remember what they are. If i recall correctly, there's savings to be had if the water heater is shut off for longer than 8 hours at a time.

It's probably not saving much. What climate zone are you in? How old is the water heater? Is it in a conditioned space?

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Old 04-03-2013, 12:09 PM   #3
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Water heater savings from using a timer


I live in middle georgia, water heater is new and it is located under the house in the crawlspace.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:22 PM   #4
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Water heater savings from using a timer


Vented crawlspace?

It might make sense to go with a heat pump water heater. I'm assuming you don't have natural gas? Heat pump water heaters are great for your climate.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:25 PM   #5
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Water heater savings from using a timer


Get a hold of a power meter that will measure the power used by that circuit.

Run the water heater for a week with the timer.

Run the water heater for a week with the timer off.

See which one used more power.

Report it here
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:26 PM   #6
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Water heater savings from using a timer


Yeah it is vented to the outside or is it sealed and encapsulated?
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:43 PM   #7
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Water heater savings from using a timer


It is vented to the outside but it doesn't get really cold here very much anymore.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:53 PM   #8
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Water heater savings from using a timer


I'm not sure if the manufacturer allows it but you could look into replacing your electric tank with a heat pump. There's several brands of them G.E., rheem, a.o. Smith. They work like a heat pump by moving heat from the ambient air into the tank. The recovery is a little slower but the energy efficiency and cost savings can be substantial. Sometimes it can cut your water heating bill in half.

But if you want to leave well enough alone and just determine whether the timer is worth the effort, just compare usage during similar weeks while using it and leaving it. Again, I bet that there are some savings but I don't think it's going to be a lot. Pays for the timer itself and cuts usage by a little but not a lot. These newer electric tanks often have two inches of foam insulation I. Them and in your climate you're probably not exposing it to much cold.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:47 PM   #9
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Water heater savings from using a timer


When are you thinking you'll use this water? 6-11pm doesn't seem right. If you're getting home at 6 then it's likely going to take at least two hours to bring it up to temp. And unless you're still likely to be bathing at 11pm then it'd be better shutting it off sooner. But it'd still probably not be worth using.

The problem with using a timer is the length of time it takes to bring the water back up to usable temperature. It's one thing for a heater to turn itself on briefly now and then to maintain the temperature. Versus being totally off and having to work hard to bring it all the way back up. If the tank is relatively new and decently insulated then you really might not save enough money to make it worthwhile. And if it's an old enough unit to make that work then you'd end up saving a lot more money by replacing it with something more efficient.
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Old 04-04-2013, 03:05 AM   #10
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Water heater savings from using a timer


I installed meter on water heater to find out if water heater saves money: http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-i...er-heater.html
Discovered that Peak pricing states can clearly save money using a timer.
Non-peak price states:
Discovered good news that a timer does not cost you more money.
Discovered that timer saved us small amount each day, 20-70cents per day, because hot water was rationed, so we used less hot water.
Discovered that if timer was set to run for more time, for example 12 hours per day, then there was no appreciable savings. Unless household is on peak electric pricing.
After considerable research, I discovered best way to save money is to use less hot water, which can include using timer, and also to maintain water heater thereby avoiding future replacement cost and possible water damage from failed tank.
http://waterheatertimer.org/9-ways-t...er-heater.html
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:09 AM   #11
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Water heater savings from using a timer


Quote:
Originally Posted by strategery View Post
I'm not sure if the manufacturer allows it but you could look into replacing your electric tank with a heat pump. There's several brands of them G.E., rheem, a.o. Smith. They work like a heat pump by moving heat from the ambient air into the tank. The recovery is a little slower but the energy efficiency and cost savings can be substantial. Sometimes it can cut your water heating bill in half.

But if you want to leave well enough alone and just determine whether the timer is worth the effort, just compare usage during similar weeks while using it and leaving it. Again, I bet that there are some savings but I don't think it's going to be a lot. Pays for the timer itself and cuts usage by a little but not a lot. These newer electric tanks often have two inches of foam insulation I. Them and in your climate you're probably not exposing it to much cold.
Leave well enough alone don't get involved with a Heat Pump Water heater. It can be a money pit for installation and service and take way to many years to recover. forgetaboutit.
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:56 AM   #12
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Water heater savings from using a timer


Sounds like you may have a malfunctioning water heater. The bottom element may not be coming on. A 50 gallon electric water heater ought to be able to recover in about an hour or so. The one I have in my house does at least. If only the top element is working, you will only have about 25 gallons or so of hot water.

The way the thermostats work in a water heater, the top element thermostat switches on and heats the top of the water heater. When the top thermostat is satisfied, it switches off, and then connects power to the lower heating element to heat the rest of the tank, which then switches off when that is satisfied.

If only the top element is working, during long durations of unuse, the hot water at the top of the tank may eventually warm some of the water at the bottom, and thus allow you to get enough for a shower. When you use it relatively quickly though during the evenings, there's not enough time for the heat in the top of the tank to transfer downwards.

While this is a new house, I would still check the water heater and make sure it's wired up correctly. I have seen some really sloppy stuff in new houses!
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:06 AM   #13
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Water heater savings from using a timer


If he's using it normally and it's producing hot water there's nothing wrong with it he just needs to time it differently or take the timer out of the system. Then insulate the tank with a blanket and forgetaboutit.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:40 AM   #14
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Water heater savings from using a timer


How new is the water heater? If you're close to replacement time, consider an on-demand tankless heater. They heat rapidly and only as you need them.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:15 PM   #15
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Water heater savings from using a timer


There's many ways to produce hot water if your willing to $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

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