Turning off the hot water heater question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by TRAILRIDER, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. TRAILRIDER

    TRAILRIDER Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  2. oneokie

    oneokie Well-Known Member

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    Probably not. But you will see an increase in electricity useage.
     

  3. TRAILRIDER

    TRAILRIDER Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
  4. Sawmill Jim

    Sawmill Jim Well-Known Member

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    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 .
     
  5. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    It takes less energy to reheat than it does to maintain.
     
  6. oneokie

    oneokie Well-Known Member

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    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).
     
  7. ldc

    ldc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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
     
  8. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  9. joseph97297

    joseph97297 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  10. Katey

    Katey Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  11. MariaAZ

    MariaAZ Suburban Homesteader

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    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.
     
  12. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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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.
     
  13. Common Tator

    Common Tator Uber Tuber

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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.
     
  14. stockdogtta

    stockdogtta Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  15. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

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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.
     
  16. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  17. deaconjim

    deaconjim Appalachian American Supporter

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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.
     
  18. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  19. TRAILRIDER

    TRAILRIDER Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  20. GoldenCityMuse

    GoldenCityMuse "Slick" Supporter

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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.