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220 timer

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Bill, Mar 18, 2010.

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  1. Bill

    Bill Minister of Fire

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    I was wondering if they made a timer for my electric water heater. Only use it in the morning to take a shower and I can tell from my electric bill it's a pig to run all the time. Would only need it to come on for an hour or so and use up what hot water I have.

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  2. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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  3. bucketboy

    bucketboy Member

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    hi there
    putting a timer on your hot water tank is an medioker idea. the amount of energy required to bring the water back up to temperature would exceed the energy to maintain the temperature. the best idea is to put a blanket around the tank and insolate the pipe. if you are really creative and have space have a second tank beside the first and let the supply water sit in the second tank then the temperature of the house would raise the incoming supply water temperature and therefore requiring less energy to heat the water. as a heating contractor i wouldn t recommend the the timer. just my toughts.

    cheers
  4. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I'm having a really hard time with this.

    The amount of heat lost to the atmosphere goes up as the difference in temp between the water and the atmosphere rises. Meaning you lose less heat from cold water.

    Letting the water tank cool during the day and reheating it at night would use less energy than maintaining the higher water temp all day since the higher water temp would create more heat loss to the atmosphere.

    There have been commercial water heater timers for decades. The gains are pretty small assuming your water heater is relatively new and well insulated since they just don't lose much heat anymore.
  5. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Ja, then the lady of the house decides to take a shower in the evening...if you live alone it mightwork ok
  6. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Electric water heaters have a slow recovery time so your are looking at a fair amount of time to get it re heated, better off getting a on demand water heater and then you get money back from the goverment.
  7. StackedLumber

    StackedLumber New Member

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    I have two thoughts . . . first of all, look into your waterheater and see what it's recovery time is and how many kwh it takes to get up to temp. That info should be available. You can see if it's worth it to turn it off . . .my bet is that it would be for a period of 12 hrs or so.

    A second option, which we have here, is a radio controlled montior that the electric company places on the wiring to your water heater. They give a 6/month credit for them to have the ability to turn off the electricity to your water heater during peak hr. usage. (usually between 7-9 am) This program for us has a number of other limitations, such as it can't be shut off more than once during a given 24 hr period and can't be shut off for more that 4 hrs. Check w/ your electric company to see if they have anything like this. You save on the electricity that it is shut off AND you get paid 6/month to do it. We have it on our heater, and have never found it to be problematic.
  8. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    We installed programmable timers on both our electric water heaters per instructions at this website: http://waterheatertimer.org/

    Its my wife, me, and two teenage sons. We've had little problem with dealing with cold water showers. The water in the insulated tank stays pretty warm so it only takes about 30 minutes to come to full temp after the heater has been off for 8 hours or so.

    Water heater timers, and HVAC setback thermostats save energy because the amount of temp difference is what drives heat transfer. This effect has been well documented experimentally by work done at Oak Ridge National Laboratories and other places.

    We've had real good luck with our setup. The guy who put together the website above did a real good job.

    Cheers.
  9. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Standby loss in a tank has a lot to do with the outside air as well as the construction of the tank. A hot water heater with 120 degree water will have a higher standby loss in a 40f basement than a 70f closet, so it stands to reason stanby loss for a water heater shut down will not be flat, but will slow down as the temp inside the tank reaches equilibrium with the outside air.

    Long story short: Shutting off a water heater for an extended period of time and then restarting it WILL save energy. Whether or not you will ever recoup the cost of a timer is a big question. I've got an alarm panel, and when the system is armed the building goes into unoccupied mode, which lowers my temps to 60f (my thermostats are set there anyway) and suspends the indirect's call for hot water. Look on craigslist for someone getting rid of a pool. The timer on the pump is what you want.

    If the tank has an r-value of less than 20 you'd be better off installing a blanket and insulating pipes for about $50.
  10. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    How much has it lowered your elect. bill, I wonder if the tankless water heaters is the way to go in the long run.
  11. Bill

    Bill Minister of Fire

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    I have a couple homes and in one I have the Bosch on demand water heater and it's OK, but different than what most people think. First off the faucet has to be wide open, to make hot water. If you take a bath and trickle the water, it doesn't work. Also it can only raise the temperature so many degrees about, lets say 60*. in summer that's fine, in a winter climate, not so good. I have a gas water heater before the Bosch and set it on low, so the same temperature water goes in and we always have plenty of hot water. If I did not have the additional water heater, you might have some cool showers. Not sure I save much money on the gas I am supposed to save. But the two electric water heaters on my other houses seem to suck electricity. Especially the 65 gal. one in my cabin. That's the one I would really like to put the timer on. Just the wife and me and we could do everything we need to do in the morning and then not turn the power on until the next morning. My thought is that we would use all of the hot water stored in the tank without making any until the next day. Also the water in the tank overnight should warm up to room temperature and be easier to heat. I have actually thought of replacing the hot water heater and installing a smaller more efficient one, but it's not that old and does work well.
  12. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Good question. I'd like to be able to tell you but there are just too many other variables. I am planning to set up a datalogger to monitor current to different circuits in my breaker box though to find out where we are using power.

    Tankless for us it tough. We don't have natural gas, propane is expensive and you have to run a big circuit to a tankless unit. Also we have hard water which would mean we'd need to flush the lime out. Low flow hot water is problematic with tankless also.
  13. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like putting in a setback thermostat. If you have a fast temperature drop and high heat loss, then the setback will save a significant amount of money, but if your home temperature doesn't drop in the time you've had the thermostat setback, then you've wasted your time.

    I'd rather have the house that holds the heat rather than the setback thermostat.

    A 65 gallon water heater would use about 40,000 btus to go from 50 to 130 which would take a 4,500 watt element almost 3 hours, which leads me to guess that unless you're heating water with additional sources, you might as well leave the power on and focus on the heat loss by turning down the thermostat, insulating the pipes etc.

    You could also turn off the lower element, reducing the volume of water heated. Not sure what advantage there is to that one if you don't have solar or wood heat contributing.
  14. sesmith

    sesmith Member

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    We have a day-nite rate meter and I've used a timer on and off for several years. The trick is having a water heater large enough for your daily needs (for me, 80 gal). Mine only runs on the nite rate, unless we have to turn it on at other times. It does save money. Not sure if it runs less also, cause I've never measured it both ways, but I'd bet it does. Our nite rate is 1/3 less than our day rate. I've also put our basement dehumidifier on a timer too. It's another power sucker. It does run less this way, and seems to get the job done almost as well for about a third of the electric use.

    I also keep the water heater set fairly low (about 120). Our dish washer and clothes washer have water temp boost heaters in them. Either way, I'm using electricity to heat the water, so it makes more sense to boost up the temp of the water in small quantities when needed than to keep 80 gallons at 140 or more.
  15. WES999

    WES999 Minister of Fire

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  16. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Good find. I question his heat loss calculations though. Of course I question everything. That's why I want to do some actual monitoring of power use.
  17. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Why get a timer at all, just get a switch and remote thermometer. It sounds goofy but I have been doing it for years with my boiler. It would be best if your heater was located in an upstairs closet rather than a cement basement of course too. You can get one of those indoor ./ outdoor thermometers that has the long wire and remote sender. Cut the wire and make it as long as you need with bell wire or cheap speaker wire ect. I pried open the top of my boiler cell and shoved the tiny sender down through the insulation till it sits on the top of the tank then replace the insulation and cap leaving the wire running out. Run that over to where you can keep an eye on it like in the hallway near a doorway where it is easy to route and hide the wire. Put an additional insulation blanket on the tank too and really wrap it up. Mount the switch where it is easy to get at preferably near the thermometer. The temp that registers on the outdoor reading of the thermometer is APPROXIMATELY how hot the water is in the tank at the top. It is an interpretation and takes some getting used to but it does work as long as you keep an eye on it and don't have a lot of spaced out half hour showers. Our tank is only 30 gallon and it works for 3 of us. I paid $13 for the thermometer at Lowes or Walmart. A 220 on off switch isn't much over $10 either. You can do without the switch and wire and just use the breaker and remote thermostat until you determine if it is going to work for you. Doing it like that requires some consideration and planning but will work for you if everyone is willing to play along.

    Those programs like Night Rate can be a headache. In NY they make you have an 80 gallon tank and the day rate is very high even though the night rate is much lower so you likely aren't going to save all that much. There were some other things I don't even remember but it didn't seem such a great deal to me when everything is considered.
  18. WES999

    WES999 Minister of Fire

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    I just looked at an old post of mine. It was about tankless water heaters.

    am not an expert in this area but from what I have read, and seen firsthand with my electric water heater I don’t see how a tank less water heater is cost effective. I think we can agree that any savings for a tank-less is due to eliminating standby loss. The same amount of energy is needed to heat the water. The water heater I just installed is an older one with R16 insulation, I added an additional 4 ” of fiberglass to increase it to about R28. My heater will go for over 15 hr without heating (No hot water being used).
    It runs about 15 min/24 hr to maintain heat. I think that’s about .15 cents worth of electricity. It would probably be more that 25 years to see a payback.

    As I posted, my electric water heater only runs about 15 min/24 hr to maintain heat. I think putting a timer or a switch won't save much unless you have off peak rates.
    I am sure with a switch sooner of later someone will forget to turn it back on >:-(

    My observations seems to agree with the conclusion from the link I posted.
  19. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Of course sooner or later someone won't remember to turn the switch on, that's half the fun. Given enough time even WOMEN can be taught to flip the switch. I will admit it's a long drawn out process though and fraught with danger..............................................
  20. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    There have been a lot of good comments in reply, and I agree with most of them. My two cents:

    1. Installing a timer to just turn off the hot water heater for a few hours a day is not likely to save you big bucks, but it will save you a little. Do it because you want to save energy, not money.

    2. Best reason to install a timer is if you have a day/night electric rate. Then, you can make your hot water overnight when rates are cheaper, and keep it off during the day. My wife and I get along fine with this with a 50 gallon tank and a front loader washer. If you have kids, a finicky wife, or take long showers, you need a bigger tank or a better idea.

    3. On-demand heaters make sense if you are a manufacturer of on-demand heaters. Having traveled a lot through Asia and Europe where these are widely used, I can tell you that they often need a high flow rate to turn on, but then often turn off when you least expect if the flow rate goes down. The water output isn't that hot either. They also cost a lot to purchase and install. You won't save money.

    If it's just you alone using the hot water, turn off the bottom element on the tank, or turn the temperature sensor for the bottom element way down. You'll have 20 gallons or so of hot water, and won't be losing heat from the entire tank. That will cost you nothing up-front.
  21. Later

    Later New Member

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    The "on demand" electric heater I looked at required a 140 AMP 240 VOLT circuit
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