dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
4437
share rss forum feed


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Water heater timers

Will there be any savings by installing a timer on an electric water heater to shut it off during the overnight hours. I'm usually in bed by 10-11 at night so I could set the thing to shut off at 10 PM and kick back on at 8 AM.

Here we don't have TOU or demand based pricing, its fixed rate pricing but does vary based on the season and current rate tariffs. We don't have smart meters here either, just electronic ones they read remotely from driving by in a van (automated meter reading).

I usually shower either before bed or after I get up in the mid morning. Sometimes I run the dishwasher early in the morning but I could run that at other parts of the day.

The water heater is in an unheated basement.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
Are you maxed out on the insulation yet?


John97
Over The Hills And Far Away
Premium
join:2000-11-14
Spring Hill, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Bright House
·ooma
reply to IowaCowboy
I wouldn't go to the trouble. I think in the unheated basement the energy expenditure to recover from the heat loss would negate any savings potential.

My house had timers on the water heaters when I moved in. They were disabled so there would be power 24/7. I ended up removing them entirely.

Buy a water heater blanket and wrap the pipes if you want to do something to help the cause.
--
So put me on a highway, and show me a sign.
And take it to the limit one more time...


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
said by John97:

I wouldn't go to the trouble. I think in the unheated basement the energy expenditure to recover from the heat loss would negate any savings potential

I could use the timer during the summer months and disable it during the heating season. And my mother has suggested signing up for budget billing through the poco to even out the summer summer breezes (low bills) and the winter burns (high bills). I think the time I would only have to disable the timer would be late October through early April. In the warm season it gets pretty hot down there to the point of being unbearable.

When I do go on vacation, I do flip the breaker off.

Buy a water heater blanket and wrap the pipes if you want to do something to help the cause.

The water heater was new in 2003 so it is pretty well insulated. And I've insulated the pipes that I have access to without having to rip open walls.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

5 recommendations

You spend so much money trying to increase energy efficiency of a RENTAL. We often criticize you for doing changes in a rental, but investment towards energy efficiency are most unwise.

Investment on energy efficiency only have a LONG TERM return on investment (if even).

You know what else has a long term return on investment? Home ownership.

Sorry if this is unsolicited advice, but I just couldn't help myself this time. You can ignore me if you'd prefer.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
said by alkizmo:

You spend so much money trying to increase energy efficiency of a RENTAL. We often criticize you for doing changes in a rental, but investment towards energy efficiency are most unwise.

A lot of the energy efficient improvements I've invested in can be taken from rental to rental easily. LED light bulbs easily unscrew from their sockets, Energy Star window A/C units easily come down, and high efficiency washers are easily moved with an appliance dolly or a couple of young strong guys in good health

I should look into having the gasket on my refrigerator (that I own replaced) as the fridge isn't that old (new in the year 2000) but the gasket has seen better days.

The reason I don't buy a home is the housing market here is very poor. While it is a buyers market, there are barriers to financing such as lenders requiring high down payments and other things. And my mom has ok credit, its just not feasible right now. And I'd like to free up cash which is why I'm looking to knock down the electric bill because the electric bill is a budget buster for me.

At least we don't pay water but I am considerate of the landlord's finances and know that excessive consumption leads to rent increases to I try to be reasonable with water usage.

The neighbors that moved out last year (that trashed the other unit) kept filling and draining a kiddie pool. I'm sure if they were the ones paying the water they would have thought twice about getting a pool.

If I were to get a pool or hot tub, I'd throw the landlord an extra $50 or so to cover the cost of the water.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.


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

The water heater was new in 2003 so it is pretty well insulated. And I've insulated the pipes that I have access to without having to rip open walls.

If that is the case you are not going to save money, the amount of heat lost through a well-insulated electric heater is minimal. Plus you will increase power consumption by a couple of watts 24/7 to power the timer.

I'm surprised your utility does not offer special time of day rate for domestic hot water heating. But to take advantage of that rate means using a dedicated meter and probably a minimum of an 80 gallon water heater. Not practical in your situation.

Set thermostat to 120 degrees, that minimizes losses and scald risk. If you are concerned about legionnaires disease set the thermostat higher and pay the price. If you are going to be gone for a long time, continue doing what you are doing and turn off power to the heater.

Do you have low flow aerators on all the sinks and low flow shower heads to reduce energy consumption? If you are in the market for new washing machine take a serious look at front loaders. They use less water and extract more reducing drying cost.

You are pretty limited as a renter. We use a heat exchanger in our wood stove and batch heater in our green house to reduce water heating cost. Is your landlord interested in installing solar?

/tom


Tex
Premium
join:2012-10-20
kudos:2
reply to IowaCowboy
I don't believe adding a timer to the water heater is going to help "free up cash". I'd look into other ways, i.e. cable/satellite bill, cell phone bill, gadget/personal electronic devices bill, Internet bill, etc.

You say you shower "mid morning"? Do you work?

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink
reply to IowaCowboy
Some time ago I spoke to a CSR at the company that manufactured my water heater. To save money turn the thermostat so the temperature of the water coming out of the nearest hot water faucet does not exceed 125 degrees. You can pick up a immersion type thermometer at Target or Walmart. Also make sure that the lower thermostat is set at a higher temperature then the upper thermostat. In most water heaters the elements do not work together and the upper thermostat switches off the lower element. If the upper thermostat is set higher than the lower thermostat the upper element will wind up heating the water in the top of the tank while the water in the bottom of the tank will not be heated until the upper thermostat reaches the set temperature.

Shady Bimmer
Premium
join:2001-12-03
Northport, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to IowaCowboy
You would do far better by minimizing heat loss from the water heater (IE: maximizing insulation). Heat lost is heat lost, and lost heat must be replaced regardless of whether it is frequent or not.

As already noted, you should also reduce the temp of the water heater to as low as 120 degrees (F). I keep mine (an indirect heated unit) at 140 and being super-insulated rarely causes the boiler to fire during idle times (IE: overnight).

scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to IowaCowboy
As someone who IS on a TOU electric rate - let me give you some advice about hot water heaters.

With your current unit being pretty new - heat losses will pretty much be confined to your hot water pipes (you did insulate these ?) An electric water heater really runs very little unless you are actually using hot water - My main reason for having the timer on mine is to prevent the Water heater from coming on during my "on-peak" electric rate period. Since you are not on this type of rate plan - it is my opinion that a timer would be wasted for you, but turning off the water heater is a good idea when you're gone on vacation for a while. And like you said - powering off the breaker takes care of THAT pretty well.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to IowaCowboy
This is a picture of my water heater controller.




There must be something that must be behind my $100+ electric bills and I'm thinking the water heater is the culprit. I was reading the reviews on homedepot.com and they were saying the "timers paid for themselves in three months", "cut my electric bill by 1/3rd", etc. But I don't know if those are paid reviewers so I'll trust the advise of those on DSLR before I trust those on a site that sells the merchandise.

I also like to view things from a more technical perspective.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.


tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting
Back in the bad old days with 2" of fiberglass standby losses were a lot higher so turning the heater off made sense. Modern energy efficient heaters have 2 or 3" of foam, and also foam insert in the thermostat access panels. So standby losses are very low.

Keep in mind if you have thermostat set at 120F that is only 50F higher then ambient.

What is the thing on top of the water heater? Do you already have a timer? If so it will be easy to prove whether or not it works to your satisfaction.

I'd kill for a $100 a month electric bill.

/tom


billaustin
they call me Mr. Bill
Premium,MVM
join:2001-10-13
North Las Vegas, NV
kudos:5
reply to IowaCowboy
If you turn the heater off overnight, you will expend at least as much energy (if not more) bringing the temperature back up as you would expend maintaining it. The best thing you can do is wrap the heater to minimize heat loss.

It may last much longer, but it is ten years old so I would expect to have to replace it within a couple years. Is natural gas available at your location?


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
said by billaustin:

It may last much longer, but it is ten years old so I would expect to have to replace it within a couple years. Is natural gas available at your location?

Like I'm going to run gas piping and install an exhaust system in a property I don't own.

If I did own the house, I'd convert it to gas heat as it is a heck of a lot cheaper than electric or oil heat. And we do have gas on our street. Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (formerly Bay State Gas) is the local gas company. My second choice behind NG would be propane.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to tschmidt
said by tschmidt:



What is the thing on top of the water heater? Do you already have a timer? If so it will be easy to prove whether or not it works to your satisfaction.

I'd kill for a $100 a month electric bill.

/tom

It looks like a timer for setting on/off - night/day


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
said by Jack_in_VA:

said by tschmidt:



What is the thing on top of the water heater? Do you already have a timer? If so it will be easy to prove whether or not it works to your satisfaction.

I'd kill for a $100 a month electric bill.

/tom

It looks like a timer for setting on/off - night/day

i think its a digital thermostat. I think it has some kind of "energy smart" feature in it and I've tried it but its useless because it affects the temp of the water (not hot enough) and it does not save that much on the poco bill.

I would rather save money without affecting performance. That is why I think the timer might do the trick because it would cut power to the water heater when you need it the least. We could probably cut power during the day as well when mom is at work and were out and about.

I could probably cut power between 8 PM and 6AM and 8AM to 10 AM and then 1 PM to 4 PM. Between those times we just wash our hands after using the lavatory (which could be done with the residual heat). Mom works split shift for the school system so she showers after morning shift. Hot water is needed for cooking.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.

Shady Bimmer
Premium
join:2001-12-03
Northport, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 recommendation

reply to IowaCowboy
said by IowaCowboy:

There must be something that must be behind my $100+ electric bills and I'm thinking the water heater is the culprit.

You were saying the same thing about your TV in another thread. Continually guessing/speculating at what may be the culprit is not very effective. A more detailed evaluation and review of usage is required.

The short answer is that very likely there is no single culprit. It most likely is a combination of many usages. You would do best to start with standard common best practices and go from there.

As noted by tschmidt See Profile I too would kill for a $100/month electric bill. I am relatively careful with electric usage but here on LI my monthly bill averages $203/month (for the past year). You need to focus more on actual usage (kWh) over cost, which can vary month/month but typically only goes up.

Even with the discounted rate you have (from another thread) you still have relatively high rates for electric usage. You would do best to focus on efficiencies with relatively short times for cost recovery (IE: less than 1 year to recoup the cost of implementing the efficiency).

Reducing heat loss from a water heater by increasing insulation, for instance, is a far better option than adding a timer to prevent compensation for heat loss in non/low usage times. The only reason a water heater would need to "turn on" during non-usage times would be due to loss of heat. That is money that is 100% wasted. Adding a timer only defers the expense to a later time since that water still needs to be heated to recover from the loss.


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to billaustin
said by billaustin:

If you turn the heater off overnight, you will expend at least as much energy (if not more) bringing the temperature back up as you would expend maintaining it. The best thing you can do is wrap the heater to minimize heat loss.

Not to mention the time when hot water might be wanted/needed and it is not available yet.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


Tex
Premium
join:2012-10-20
kudos:2
reply to Shady Bimmer
Excellent post. Putting timers on things like water heaters and heating/cooling systems (programmable thermostats), in the long run, does very little to save on energy costs.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to Shady Bimmer
I remember the poco (Alliant Energy) in Iowa had many incentives with monthly bill or rate discounts like time of use, appliance/central A/C cycling during peak demand, interruptible service for businesses, etc. The poco (Western Mass Electric) here has absolutely no incentives or discounts.

Massachusetts made a huge mistake in deregulating the pocos. Iowa never deregulated the pocos and their electric is dirt cheap.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.


John97
Over The Hills And Far Away
Premium
join:2000-11-14
Spring Hill, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Bright House
·ooma
reply to tschmidt
said by tschmidt:

I'd kill for a $100 a month electric bill.

/tom

Me too. The one I have due this week is $479.
--
So put me on a highway, and show me a sign.
And take it to the limit one more time...


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to Tex
said by Tex:

Excellent post. Putting timers on things like water heaters and heating/cooling systems (programmable thermostats), in the long run, does very little to save on energy costs.

I disagree with AC/heating - the programmable thermostats have saved us a good bunch of money from the get go.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
said by CylonRed:

said by Tex:

Excellent post. Putting timers on things like water heaters and heating/cooling systems (programmable thermostats), in the long run, does very little to save on energy costs.

I disagree with AC/heating - the programmable thermostats have saved us a good bunch of money from the get go.

Ditto - Programmable thermostat has at least made us more comfortable, as well as help run the heatpump during offpeak hours.

However - for Iowacowboy - be careful what you ask for so far as propane furnace for heating.... when we first put in the propane furnace (as backup with the replacement heatpump) - propane was $.95 / gallon. It is now $3.50+ / gallon....


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to John97
said by John97:

said by tschmidt:

I'd kill for a $100 a month electric bill.

/tom

Me too. The one I have due this week is $479.

Growing up the electric bills for a small single family two bedroom ranch averaged about $50-60 per month. That house had only 60 amp service. It was just two bedrooms, 1 full bathroom, kitchen, and a living room. Heat was a gas floor furnace and water heater was gas. It did have an accessible attic which was good for storage. Garage was electrified until 1998 until code violations cut power (in other words, landlord was too cheap to fix them and I was only 14 years old at the time). The garage had open splices which was acceptable in 1949 but not in 1998.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
·surpasshosting

3 recommendations

reply to IowaCowboy
I agree with the others. You've made countless improvements to a property that isn't even yours to improve, yet complain that your electric bill is too high or you don't have enough money to move.
STOP GIVING YOUR LANDLORD FREE STUFF!!!!! You seem like a very nice young man, but this has got to sink in at some point - it is dumb to fix up a property that isn't yours. Any improvement you make is money down the drain. You can try and justify it as you might - in reality it just doesn't make sense.
I'd highly suggest you keep that money and start saving up a down payment for a house. You like doing home improvement - find a fixer upper. A condo would be nice if you don't want to deal with lawn work. Or if home ownership isn't your thing, save your money and find a nicer place to live.
A $100 electric bill is a dream to most people. I have a small house, and the only time my electric bill is below $100 is November though April. My gas bill more than makes up the difference during those months.
Everything you are doing is counter intuitive to bettering your situation.
Anyway, here is the directions to the existing controller.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

Body Count

join:2010-09-11
Columbus, OH
reply to IowaCowboy
Yeah if you rent you shouldn't be upgrading anything. If you upgrade something and it breaks your landlord could say your upgrade did it and make you foot the bill to replace it... like a furnace or A/C unit.

It's better to just move out to a newer apartment altogether that has newer equipment in it already.

Or buy a house and spend all your money on upgrades.

The most .. and I mean the most I would do to a rental unit if I was renting would be to install a programmable thermostat.. and only do it if my landlord said I could. Mine has saved me a lot of money so far. It has paid for itself at least five times over in the three years I've had it.

I would also install CFL or LED bulbs everywhere because at least you can take those to your next place if you move out.

Buy some window plastic to put over your windows during the winter months. Little piece of plastic and a hairdryer goes a long way on your heating bill.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to nunya
said by nunya:

STOP GIVING YOUR LANDLORD FREE STUFF!!!!!

I do need to get the carpet out of my bedroom though because the allergies are unbearable and I've been told by my doctor to get the carpet out of the bedroom. The landlord has already given me permission to rip up the carpet in there. If I owned the property I get all the carpet out and replace it all with Pergo.
»Pergo question

When you are up to three medications for allergies (four if you cout the one that was prescribed for when things get really bad), then all you can do at this point is remove the source of the allergens. Carpet harbors dust mites and I've tested positive for dust mites on allergy testing.

A $100 electric bill is a dream to most people. I have a small house, and the only time my electric bill is below $100 is November though April. My gas bill more than makes up the difference during those months.

The winter months are high months for me since I heat with electricity.

I think based on the responses, I don't think the water heater timer is going to save that much money to justify the expense of putting it in. If we have TOU pricing here, it would be a whole different animal.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to IowaCowboy
Standby losses on a modern water heater are negligible...

If you could save 5 bucks a month, I'd be surprised... Not worth the effort.

Big picture - stop doing electrical work!! The transfer switch, the fixture and outlets, etc, etc... Heaven forbid; but if there's ever a fire, you're screwed. If there's a fire, and the tenant in the other side of the duplex is hurt or killed; jail may not be out of the question.

What you do to your own property is one thing... What you do as a tenant of a MDU, is a totally different thing.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to scooper
said by scooper:

However - for Iowacowboy - be careful what you ask for so far as propane furnace for heating.... when we first put in the propane furnace (as backup with the replacement heatpump) - propane was $.95 / gallon. It is now $3.50+ / gallon....

I don't want to get on my soap box again as most people in this forum have seen us beat this into the ground... but again... propane is priced very weirdly, based mostly on tank size, ownership, and amount of annual consumption (number of devices).

I own my 500 gallon UG propane tank and use propane for everything... and my price is hovering around $1.80/gal here in CT, which is notoriously expensive for everything. Propane may well be a great solution to high energy prices (namely oil and electricity).