When we think of the electricity that our water heater uses everyday and we see the big bill at the end of the month, most of us assume we cannot do anything to reduce the utility expense. Thankfully we don’t need to blindly accept the idea that our electricity bill is out of control anymore – now, we have a secret weapon to tame the water heater and save energy!
Installing a hot water heater timer can greatly reduce the amount of your monthly energy bill, save an additional 5% - 12% of energy, and extend the life of your water heater. Your hot water heater forces utility bills sky high because it is one of the biggest energy hogs in your home. Consider this – the water heater is warming gallons and gallons of water all day long. While you’re away at work or school for hours a day, your water heater is using electricity to heat water you have no intention of using.
Note: these timers aren’t as cost effective, or easy to install, on gas water heaters because of their pilot light system.
- Start by learning what kind of water heater you have installed in your home. Your home can have a wide variety of water heaters, from electric water heaters to gas hot water heaters, even gas tankless water heater and solar hot water heaters. Before you can install a hot water heater timer, you need to find out which kind you own.
- Visit your local hardware or plumbing supply store. The sales associates will be able to help you find the timer that will work best with your particular water heater.
- Try to find a place to mount the timer that is as close to the water heater as possible. Once you have found the perfect spot, follow the directions to get your specific timer up and running. The manufacturer should provide you with ample guidance to install and program your timer.
- Contact your utility to see if it offers a demand management program. Some offer “time of use” electricity rates that vary according to the demand on their system (“on-peak” vs “off-peak” times) and they may even offer an incentive if you allow them to install control devices that shut off electric water heaters during peak demand periods.
If you are finding it difficult to find the best timer for your hot water heater, you may want to call your local plumbing and HVAC specialist.
Image by Kevin Dooley