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Water heater on a timer? #5112343
05/22/19 12:08 PM
05/22/19 12:08 PM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 1,314
Ocala, Florida
racin4ds Offline OP
racin4ds  Offline OP

Joined: May 2010
Posts: 1,314
Ocala, Florida
Hi ladies and gents. I've recently been talking to my dad and a few others about the benefits of turning the Electric water heater off except certain times of the day when needed and began to really wonder if this can save much on the electric bill?

Yes I know it constantly runs to maintain the water temp but wouldn't it be counter-productive to leave it off all day while at work and then turn it on late in the evening when everyone needs a shower? To me, that would require the elements to stay on 100% DC to heat the entire 55 gallons back up and cause a higher use of electricity vs just maintaining the temp by cycling on and off throughout the day.

I've see the "Little grey box" and other timers as well as folks just wiring in a switch. Is there some validity to this or a waste of time and money? What say you?


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Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112350
05/22/19 12:16 PM
05/22/19 12:16 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 8,632
Canuck living in California
KrisZ Offline
KrisZ  Offline

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 8,632
Canuck living in California
If the heater is well insulated, then yes because it will retain heat, so the water will not be stone cold, provided no one is using hot water during the day.

Last edited by KrisZ; 05/22/19 12:16 PM.

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Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112354
05/22/19 12:20 PM
05/22/19 12:20 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 114
Rochester, NY
dadto2 Offline
dadto2  Offline

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 114
Rochester, NY
Think about it like this... There is constant heat loss from the system, whether it's powered on all day or not. The energy will continue to try and equalize to the outside of the tank. The hotter the tank is, the more energy there is present to escape.

So if you cut the power and allow the energy to escape without replacing it all day, then turn on in the evening and bring the water back to hot, you will lose less energy to waste.

There are a lot of variables here that will change your result. Is the heater in a cold or warm environment? How well is the tank itself insulated? Is your electric rate fixed all day, or are you subject to peak and off-peak rates?


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Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112368
05/22/19 12:45 PM
05/22/19 12:45 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,794
Wet side WA
JohnnyJohnson Offline
JohnnyJohnson  Offline

Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,794
Wet side WA
Had a little Gray Box on my water heater three houses ago. On a 50 gallon tank. It powered off at 9:30 PM back on at 4:30 AM then back off at 10 AM and back on at 2:30PM it did save me several dollars a month on my bill. Power is more expensive now and these timers are now more programable than mine was. Now some of the boxes allow you to program different hours each day and weekend plus vacation shutdowns.

Oh my Little Gray Box had a cavoite don't use with aluminum wiring.

Last edited by JohnnyJohnson; 05/22/19 12:48 PM.

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Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112371
05/22/19 12:49 PM
05/22/19 12:49 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 15,157
Silicon Valley
PandaBear Offline
PandaBear  Offline

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 15,157
Silicon Valley
Back in the days I had an electric water heater at home, that you need to manually turned on 30 mins before taking a shower. So yes it can be done, but you won't know how much electricity you will save until you actually try it out.


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Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112381
05/22/19 01:04 PM
05/22/19 01:04 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 13,752
NH
supton Offline
supton  Offline

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 13,752
NH
Personally I'd want to hook a temp sensor and wattmeter and measure. So as to be sure.

My thinking: let's say I turn it off, it's off for 8 hours, and when I turn it back on, the water is still at say 100F. I probably am not saving much energy--my thinking, somehow I wind up using the same amount of energy over the course of a day. I realize the bigger the temperature difference from inside to outside -> faster heat transfer, but I'm thinking, a low duty cycle over a long time could be the same effect as high duty cycle but only some of the time.

Now if the tank was hitting ambient long before I switch it back on, then I'm guessing I'd have savings.

Then again, you lose nothing by trying (only time spent waiting for the tank to come up to temp). Proof is in the pudding: does it save energy & money for you?


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Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112394
05/22/19 01:18 PM
05/22/19 01:18 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 22,342
Upstate NY
Donald Offline
Donald  Offline

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 22,342
Upstate NY
The better insulated a water heater is the less you will save. Feel the outside of the water heater? Is it warm to touch or room temp. I don't think you will save much with a well insulated water heater.

If the heat from the jacket of the water heater goes to heat a lived in room, then its less your furnace will be on. Furnace may be gas and water heater electric.

At one point in time they had off-peak power switch for the electric water heater. Power company controlled when the water heater was on and when off. You got a cheaper rate allowing them to control water heater.


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Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112415
05/22/19 01:40 PM
05/22/19 01:40 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,557
Los Gatos, CA
JeffKeryk Offline
JeffKeryk  Offline

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,557
Los Gatos, CA
As a preparation for the future, I installed a tankless (gas) water heater and solar panels.
I guess I would try and insulate the water heater as best as you can.
Good luck.


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Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112454
05/22/19 02:19 PM
05/22/19 02:19 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 13,059
The Motor City
Kestas Offline
Global Moderator
Kestas  Offline
Global Moderator

Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 13,059
The Motor City
I once turned off the water heater for a weekend. Upon return I took a shower, and didn't realize I turned off the water heater until I finished my shower. That's how efficiently they hold heat.

Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112532
05/22/19 03:38 PM
05/22/19 03:38 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 34,529
ME
eljefino Offline
eljefino  Offline

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 34,529
ME
If you have off-peak metering go for it. Otherwise, don't. Tepid water is a great way to get Legionairre's Disease.

Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112579
05/22/19 04:21 PM
05/22/19 04:21 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 26
Colorado
digger327 Offline
digger327  Offline

Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 26
Colorado
I had 1 of those grey box timers, saved a few dollars, what has saved me a lot was switching to heat pump water heater, it cut my electrical bill in half.

Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: eljefino] #5112612
05/22/19 04:55 PM
05/22/19 04:55 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 4,723
New England
madRiver Offline
madRiver  Offline

Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 4,723
New England
Originally Posted by eljefino
If you have off-peak metering go for it. Otherwise, don't. Tepid water is a great way to get Legionairre's Disease.


+1

Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112627
05/22/19 05:09 PM
05/22/19 05:09 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 879
Ohio
2oldtommy Offline
2oldtommy  Offline

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 879
Ohio
The best thing you can do is to compare KWH cost with nat. gas cost if available. In OH the cost of nat. gas to heat water makes electric water heaters obsolete. FWIW.


Oldtommy

Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: racin4ds] #5112691
05/22/19 06:25 PM
05/22/19 06:25 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 9,067
Cincinnati, OH, USA
bullwinkle Offline
bullwinkle  Offline

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 9,067
Cincinnati, OH, USA
I would think a add-on water heater blanket & new heat trap fittings for the inlets would save almost as much.


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Re: Water heater on a timer? [Re: 2oldtommy] #5112814
05/22/19 08:10 PM
05/22/19 08:10 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,718
NE,Ohio
Rand Offline
Rand  Offline

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,718
NE,Ohio
Originally Posted by 2oldtommy
The best thing you can do is to compare KWH cost with nat. gas cost if available. In OH the cost of nat. gas to heat water makes electric water heaters obsolete. FWIW.


Oldtommy



This is very true even with my heat pump water heater in eco mode its 2-3x the cost vs natural gas.

conventional electric is around 8-10x the cost to heat vs natural gas (NE OHIO prices)

Disclaimer:IIRC its been a few years since I ran the numbers..


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