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Anon Name

@tds.net

Electric Water Heater Timer Worth It?


Just wondering for those who use set-back timers on their electric hot water heaters, what you think?

Do you save enough on electricity to bother buying and installing one of these units? I'm looking at the mechanical INTERMATIC WH40.

What say you?

Thanks in advance!



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

Heat losses represent 2% of the average family consumption - so expect to save no more than 0.5-1% on energy for water by using the timer. If you have a label with estimated usage for that model do your math and see what 0.5% savings in energy mean to you at your current electricity cost. If using rate-of-time for electricity make sure you're not starting the heater on a "peak" rate which can result in higher cost despite saving electricity. YMMV.
Quick googling shows average cost for water $500/year on a $0.10/kWh flat rate - so you'd save $5/year based on it.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
reply to Anon Name

Unless you have "demand" billing or long intervals where no hot water is used, it's probably not worth it.


scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to Anon Name

If you're looking to save money by not running it - the timer is not worth getting. For the wife and me - our electric water heater runs about 1-2 hour per 24 hours (unless we are doing laundry using hot water).

If, however, you're like me and you're on a Time Of Use rate plan, and you want to control WHEN the water heater is on (to avoid peak rates / peak demands, etc.) - then it is very much worth getting.



Anon Name

@tds.net
reply to cowboyro

said by cowboyro:

.... YMMV.
Quick googling shows average cost for water $500/year on a $0.10/kWh flat rate - so you'd save $5/year based on it.
Yeah, not what I wanted to hear. However, I notice most "expert" sites show the heater normally only runs 3 hrs a day. I'm not sure I believe that. On top of it, if one looks at say Amazon ratings people are claiming much higher savings. Sometimes 33% reduction a month.

Who to believe? Those who say what the heater should cost or those who say what it does cost.

I'd like to hear from those using the devices.

Thanks for the straight dope though. Certainly not worth messing with to save even $10 a YEAR!


Anon Name

@tds.net
reply to nunya

said by nunya:

Unless you have "demand" billing or long intervals where no hot water is used, it's probably not worth it.
Right. No, no "demand" rates here, yet. Could you help me define a "long interval"? I was thinking wrongly about how the heater works. I thought of it as a couple of big high drain electric elements that were more or less "ON" constantly. However, there seems to be much more cycling if I'm understanding correctly.

Thanks!


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:3

said by Anon Name :

Right. No, no "demand" rates here, yet.
I don't understand how it can be beneficial if you don't have demand rates. What am I missing?


jack b
Gone Fishing
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
kudos:1
reply to Anon Name

The elements are thermostatically controlled. When you run some water the tank temperature drops, and the thermostat(s) turn on the element(s). Once the set-point temperature is reached the thermostat turns the element off.
Even if you don't use any hot water, over time the tank loses heat and periodically it will kick itself on to reheat.
--
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Anon Name

@tds.net

said by jack b:

The elements are thermostatically controlled. When you run some water the tank temperature drops, and the thermostat(s) turn on the element(s). Once the set-point temperature is reached the thermostat turns the element off.
Even if you don't use any hot water, over time the tank loses heat and periodically it will kick itself on to reheat.
Got it, thanks.

I'm wrong about "Demand" or "Time of Use" pricing also. It IS available here but that's not the plan I'm on. I'm on the standard residential plan.

The pisser, and I don't know if it's this way everywhere is that there are effectively 2 bills that are rolled into one. No doubt this was done to confuse the hell out of me. There is the "production rate" and the "delivery rate". The deal is that I'm paying $0.15 a kWh "delivered" for my electricity. That's the "real" price.

So, I guess the timer is a waste of time. Now, I need to figure out if I can save any money switching to a "Time of Use" rate plan... Math hurts my brain.


tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting

said by Anon Name :

So, I guess the timer is a waste of time. Now, I need to figure out if I can save any money switching to a "Time of Use" rate plan...
Before you fool around with time of day pricing try adding more insulation to your water heater. If it is cheapie insulated with an inch or two of fiberglass, rather then foam, standby loses can be significant. Insulation represents a lot of bang for the buck. Install low flow shower heads and sink aerators. Try setting temperature close to 120 degrees. That reduces standby looses and reduces risk of scalds. Have family members pay attention to hot water use.

Here in NH PSNH has a time of day plan but it requires at least an 80-gallon tank. By the time you pay for the special meter and controls does not seem to be worthwhile.

/tom

scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to Anon Name

On the insulation - Lowes and Home depot both have "Water Heater Blankets", and Lowes also has carried a blanket for the top of the heater as well.



mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to tschmidt

Have family members pay attention to hot water use.

Like talking to walls



Jon
Premium
join:2001-01-20
Lisle, IL
reply to nunya

said by nunya:

Unless you have "demand" billing or long intervals where no hot water is used, it's probably not worth it.
What would you consider a long interval?


idjk

@bellsouth.net
reply to Anon Name

You might check with your power company, around here they will put a device on your water heater and a/c that allows them to shut them down for a short time during peak use periods. When I had it I was getting around $12-14 a month credit because I had it plus any meter savings.
It seem like they could turn it off for like 2 time (10 min ea) per hour- but you would have to check, they did not use it that often but I got the credit every mo.



idjk

@bellsouth.net
reply to Anon Name

I had a timer, but I also had 4 kids, so we could never seemed to get the timer set right. If your family has a set schedule like everybody in school or work during day and all gone to bed about same time every day- then a time could work , it did not for us.

Expand your moderator at work

scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to Anon Name

Re: Electric Water Heater Timer Worth It?

If you really want to get a handle on your electricity use - check out www.theenergydetective.com . I have a TED5000 and it was an eyeopener on our electric use.


Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

1 edit
reply to jack b

said by jack b:

Even if you don't use any hot water, over time the tank loses heat and periodically it will kick itself on to reheat.
Yes, but with the timer, your water will cool-down (during the day?) and you'll still need to heat it all up to normal temperature when the timer turns-on. The electricity for that re-heat is not free.

Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

1 edit
reply to Anon Name

said by Anon Name :

Now, I need to figure out if I can save any money switching to a "Time of Use" rate plan...
Where I used to live, everyone was out of the house most of the day, so 80+% of our electricity use was off-peak/weekends. So we saved a lot with the time-of-day metering. The electric meter also controlled the water heater so it would not run during peak hours (8 AM - 8 PM winters, 9 AM - 9 PM summers).

thedragonmas

join:2007-12-28
Albany, GA
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to scooper

said by scooper:

If you really want to get a handle on your electricity use - check out www.theenergydetective.com . I have a TED5000 and it was an eyeopener on our electric use.
"TED" requires you to get in to the breaker box BEFORE the main lugs, not something i would personally risk, i like »www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-EM10···6&sr=8-1 better, no risk of death and if your a renter no lease violation


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to tschmidt

said by tschmidt:

Try setting temperature close to 120 degrees. That reduces standby looses and reduces risk of scalds.
My advice: don't. Setting the temperature below 140F opens the door for development of dangerous bacteria in the tank. In fact in most countries it is recommended to NOT set the tank below 140F (60C).

scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2

1 edit
reply to thedragonmas

It's not that big a deal - power off the main breaker, put the current taps around the cables . Then put the wires that transmit into a 240V circuit (I used the dryer). Find a place for the block and close it back up.

If you're not comfortable with that - hire an electrician - it should take him about 15 minutes. But then - I've added circuits (both 120 and 240), and changed some wire in a few places as needs changed, as well as ran RG6 and cat 6 and phone .


scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to cowboyro

Got a link for that ?
Here the States, most hot water heaters are set to about 120 -125 F.

When I recently replaced mine - the factory setting was for 120, I boosted it to 125.



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

said by scooper:

Got a link for that ?
Here the States, most hot water heaters are set to about 120 -125 F.
That's because of retarded scalding lawsuits.
Back to the risk:
Avoiding water conditions that allow the organism to grow to high levels is the best means of prevention. Specific preventive steps include:
[...]
* Maintain domestic water heaters at 60°C (140°F). The temperature of the water should be 50°C (122°F) or higher at the faucet.
From »www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/legion···faq.html

Also:
»www.treehugger.com/files/2009/03···safe.php


Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to Anon Name

something I've always wondered...
why do people put their water heater in the basement?
heat rises, right? so basements are usually colder than
upper floors, assuming the house is properly insulated.
so why don't we install water heaters on a higher floor?
it can't just be cause of potential weight baring issues.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12

Space. Flue pipes. Gas lines. Water pipes. Clearance. All normally easier to find in a basement.
Ever had a tank fail? Those gimpy "drain pans" don't work well.



Nick_L
Premium
join:2003-01-22
Pittsburgh, PA
reply to Bobcat79

said by Bobcat79:

said by jack b:

Even if you don't use any hot water, over time the tank loses heat and periodically it will kick itself on to reheat.
Yes, but with the timer, your water will cool-down (during the day?) and you'll still need to heat it all up to normal temperature when the timer turns-on. The electricity for that re-heat is not free.
That was always the conventional thinking on the subject. However, newer, better quality water heater tanks (eg, those with multiple inches of foam insulation) have very little standby heat loss.


Nick_L
Premium
join:2003-01-22
Pittsburgh, PA
reply to cowboyro

said by cowboyro:

said by tschmidt:

Try setting temperature close to 120 degrees. That reduces standby looses and reduces risk of scalds.
My advice: don't. Setting the temperature below 140F opens the door for development of dangerous bacteria in the tank. In fact in most countries it is recommended to NOT set the tank below 140F (60C).
Thank you, Im glad someone said it!

Additionally, you can actually save energy, as with hotter water you will mix more cold at the tap to get the same temp, thus using less hot water. The only thing is to make sure you alert visitors to the very hot nature of your water, or better yet install anti-scald valves in places where people might be likely to come in contact with scalding water.


toby
Troy Mcclure

join:2001-11-13
Seattle, WA

1 edit

said by Nick_L:

said by cowboyro:

said by tschmidt:

Try setting temperature close to 120 degrees. That reduces standby looses and reduces risk of scalds.
My advice: don't. Setting the temperature below 140F opens the door for development of dangerous bacteria in the tank. In fact in most countries it is recommended to NOT set the tank below 140F (60C).
Thank you, Im glad someone said it!

Additionally, you can actually save energy, as with hotter water you will mix more cold at the tap to get the same temp, thus using less hot water. The only thing is to make sure you alert visitors to the very hot nature of your water, or better yet install anti-scald valves in places where people might be likely to come in contact with scalding water.
Less 140-F water? Don't think that makes sense.

I have mine set to 120-F, it makes it safer and easier, just turn the hot water on all the way.

thedragonmas

join:2007-12-28
Albany, GA
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to scooper

said by scooper:

It's not that big a deal - power off the main breaker, put the current taps around the cables . Then put the wires that transmit into a 240V circuit (I used the dryer). Find a place for the block and close it back up.

If you're not comfortable with that - hire an electrician - it should take him about 15 minutes. But then - I've added circuits (both 120 and 240), and changed some wire in a few places as needs changed, as well as ran RG6 and cat 6 and phone .
if you rent it is, open that box your out. why pay an electrician $75 (one hour min) for a 15 min job?

besides, the power company uses the meter to set your bill, some how i think actually reading the meter they use to set your bill is more accurate.

but to each his own.