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Install a timer on electric water heaters and save money

Posted In:  energy saving tips


If you have an electric water heater, the U.S Department of Energy estimates that you can save 5-12 percent of your energy costs by installing a timer that turns it off when you aren't using hot water.  At night, or while you're at work, and during your utility's peak demand times, you don't really need it running...

You can install a timer yourself. They cost $60 or more, but they can pay for themselves in about a year. For details on how to install a water heater timer, see these articles:

Of course, the gains from replacing that old water heater with a new one will far outshadow gains from installing a timer on an old water heater.  General Electric routinely quotes savings of 62% or more from upgrading to a newer water heater.  At 10 cents per kilowatt hour, that kind of energy savings would result in real dollar savings as well...around $300 a year, depending on the size of your family, how old your current water heater is, etc:

The $320 per year in savings is calculated based on a Department of Energy (DOE) test procedure comparing a standard 50-gallon electric tank water heater using 4,881 kilowatt-hours per year versus the GeoSpring hybrid water heater using 1,856 kilowatt-hours per year. The GE hybrid water heater saves 3,025 kilowatt-hours per year comparatively. The kWh savings is multiplied by the national average electricity rate of 10.65 cents per kilowatt-hour, which equals $322 per year in savings. For simplicity, GE rounds the savings to $320 per year.

Also, there's a potential tax bonus:  The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 provides a federal tax credit applicable  for the purchase and installation of an ENERGY STAR compliant qualified heat-pump style water heater. The tax credit can add another one-time savings of  $300. 

This story courtesy of , who regularly Review Water Heaters.


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Re: Install a timer on electric water heaters and save money

Sad but true. I looked into this and it turns out that they used to make timers that would turn the gas valves on and off, but they were unreliable and dangerous. Some say those timers did not save much gas anyway. Turning the gas on and off is really the only way to manage it, so gas hot water heaters won't be able to take advantage.

Re: Install a timer on electric water heaters and save money

My water is heated with gas so this will not work for me.