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Old 09/08/09, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 3,595
Question Turning off the hot water heater question

Maybe a stupid question, but here goes. Will I wear out my hot water heater by shutting the fuse off and on once a day. Its just Dh and I at home and it seems wasteful to heat water all day long. I shower once a day in summer, maybe every other day in winter, he showers less. And I do the dishes myself, could just heat a bit of water on the stove for those times.
I have already purchased a grey box timer for the water heater, but don't want to call an electrician until I have a few small projects lined up and the money saved to pay for them Thanks in advance. Mary.
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Old 09/08/09, 04:38 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: SE Oklahoma
Posts: 2,005
Probably not. But you will see an increase in electricity useage.
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Old 09/08/09, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Kentucky
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Really? Does it take more energy to turn it on once a day than to keep it on all day and night? I hadn't figured that part out. If thays true than those timer boxes will cost money not save it. Mary.
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Old 09/08/09, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 8,830
A water heater t stat keeps your water ( if state mandated ) at 130 f . It may be cheaper to maintain it than re heat each time .
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Old 09/08/09, 04:50 PM
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Location: Wyoming
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It takes less energy to reheat than it does to maintain.
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Old 09/08/09, 04:54 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: SE Oklahoma
Posts: 2,005
A lot of it depends on how well your wh is insulated and its location. When you turn it off, it starts cooling down. How fast it cools down is the determining factor in your electrical useage. One could install one of the wh blankets and off set the cool down time. One more thing to consider is the cutoff temp (how hot your wh is set).
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Old 09/08/09, 06:03 PM
ldc ldc is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: S. Louisiana
Posts: 2,387
In the summer in Louisiana, my hot water stays hot - the heater is in an un- airconditioned kitchen next to the refridgerator - for a whole week, after turning the heat on for an hour on Sundays. When I started doing this, the bill plumeted; from $32/month to a few dollars (I can't tell exactly b/c the gas and electric are charged together - the overall bill went down an avg. of 32. Hope this helps! It is a 9 yr old insulated tank from Loews. ldc
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Old 09/08/09, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Bartow County, GA
Posts: 7,691
I have a pretty large water heater. HD's top of the line. I have a timer that goes on in the AM for 3 hours =/-. Living alone, it is enough for the whole day & night - showers & laundry included. Dishes daily by hand. When I want to do a tub jacuzzi, I turn it on before hand though.

Works for me... I think I save electricity.
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Old 09/08/09, 06:27 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Missouri
Posts: 3,329
We just turned ours down. Got it to where it was hot to the touch with the hot water on only, and left it there. We have a family of 5, and we use less than 8 therms per month, and we cook everyday.

We did the whole go without in the summer time, just turned it off, and only saved about 1 therm, that was last year. So not worth it for us.
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Old 09/08/09, 09:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 332
The water heater itself won't care, but most circuit breakers are not meant to be used as switches, and will fail under daily use.
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Old 09/08/09, 11:05 PM
Suburban Homesteader
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 2,559
We took out our leaking gas hot water heater about three months ago and haven't replaced it yet. At first we were going to replace the heater immediately but it was going to take a couple weeks to arrange everything. In the meantime, we discovered that even without a water heat, the water from the cold water tap comes out of the pipes hot enough for the two of us to take daily showers. Meanwhile, our gas bill plummeted to levels we never saw. So, we decided to see how long we can go without the hot water heater.

So far, the only time I need to supplement the water from the tap is for dishes; I boil a couple pots of water and it works out fine.

Come cooler weather, we definitely will need a hot water heater but it's been a grand experiment. We will probably start turning off the heater for the summer and enjoy those low gas bills while we can.
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Old 09/08/09, 11:13 PM
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My father introduced me to 6 gallon point of demand 120v water heaters when I was a teenager to provide instant hot water. When I bought this house, my ex wanted instant hot water at the kitchen sink so I installed one under the sink. After my divorce, I installed another in the bathroom to the sink and shower and now only turn the elements on the 50 gallon tank when I decide to use the tub for a jacuzzi soak instead of a navy shower with my low flow shower head.
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Old 09/09/09, 01:12 AM
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Next time, get an "on demand" hot water heater.

We maintain two homes. At our ranch, we have a propane hot water heater, and there is a control on the front that we turn to "off when we leave, so we aren't heating water when we aren't there. When we replace this one, it will be with a propane "on demand" heater.
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Old 09/09/09, 03:30 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: West Central Illinois
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I wired in a fuse box at the heater and I flip the handle when I want hot water. Leave on about an hour or so and is good for about 2 days or so...I live alone. Heater is wrapped in one of those insulatin blankets... .been doing this about 10yrs, water heater still works just fine. 10yrs ago when I did the figuring it dropped the bill about $50. Only thing gotta remember last time you turned it on or makes for a 'cool' shower.
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Old 09/09/09, 06:35 AM
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Location: Grant Co WV/ Washington Co MD
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We did this too when there was only 2 of us. The water in the tank stays hot for hours. We would flip if off after our shower at night and turn it back on when we got home from work. Saved lots of money and we always had hot water.
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Old 09/09/09, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 4,481
Originally Posted by Katey View Post
The water heater itself won't care, but most circuit breakers are not meant to be used as switches, and will fail under daily use.

Yep, you're better off to either put a disconnect at the water heater or put it on a timer. Don't use the breaker to turn it on and off every day.
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Old 09/09/09, 07:09 AM
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I worked with a guy who was single. He wired a motion detector in his house that would shut off the T-stat on his water heater when he wasn't there.
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Old 09/09/09, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Mid-Michigan
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You will save some electricity, and it absolutely will not use more electricity by putting it on a timer. If you have a newer heater, the savings are not as large as you might think because they are so well insulated now. I would guess that your savings will be in the $5/mo range. The best way to save on hot water costs is to just use less hot water.
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Old 09/09/09, 09:06 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 3,595
All good advice, this is what I was looking for. I certainly don't want to cause more damage to fix. My water heater has an insulating blanket over it and it is 40 gals. I have heard about the on demand heaters, they are quite expensive, so I wouldn't get one unless my old working heater really died. I can't afford to replace a working unit with a new one. But I will have the timer box put on when ever it is convenient. Its hard to use less hot water than we do, I take five minute showers now anyway, and wash dishes by hand. thanks everyone. Mary.
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Old 09/09/09, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Moving from NM to TX, & back to NM.
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There are electric on demand water heaters, I have one. I like it, works well, and no big ol' can of water cooling down and reheating.

Takes a 50 amp DP breaker and 0 gauge wire. Highly recommend one.
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