Can I put a timer on a basic gas water heater?

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I have a gas water heater that doesn't use electricity. It works by having a bare copper wire conduct temperature out of the water tank into the thermostat. The same way some air conditioner works. It also uses a manual pilot light (you have to light the pilot light manually if the gas was turned off and on).
Is it possible to add a timer to this kind of water heater?
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a
Yep.
I did it once and it cost (at that time) more money than you could have possible saved over the life of the tank.
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On Sun, 16 Jul 2006 16:22:23 -0400, with neither quill nor qualm,

Nowadays you could do it with your computer and some X-10 gear. Run a relay from the X-10 appliance module to interrupt the power-on line from the tstat. Alternatively, you could use a standard lamp timer with a relay for the same purpose. Piece of cake, but you're right, it might not save a lot of money.
(What's your reason for doing this, Peter?)
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On Sun, 16 Jul 2006 18:50:47 -0700, Larry Jaques

If you want to do this, an appliance module is not the best choice. Use a "universal module" which can be set to act as just a relay. No external relay needed. Note that this module can be a power source as well. Be sure to read the instructions.
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Mark Lloyd
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Mark Lloyd wrote:

Apparently you all don't read very well. The OP's question was regarding a water heater, not a furnace / boiler, and worse yet it was a non electric gas fired unit that used a capillary tube type thermostat mechanism.
The only way to put a timer on this unit is basically to replace the entire thermostat and gas valve unit with electrically controlled ones i.e. buy a new water heater of the appropriate type.
Pete C.
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How do you do it on a unit that has no electricity going to it? I'd like to see the wiring diagram.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Electrically-operated valve to the main gas supply should do it.
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HeyBub wrote:

But then you'd need an electrically activated pilot light - additional expense.
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wrote:

And how does the timer relight the pilot after reconnecting the gas?
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Spark igniter...

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Even if you could do it you will save little, you will only reheat whatever heat it needs to getwarm again, to realy save get a gas tankless water heater like Rinnai, Takagi or Bosch.
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On Sun, 16 Jul 2006 21:12:51 -0500, with neither quill nor qualm, Mark

Excellent. Thanks for the tip. I'll look into those.
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Do a search for "Qwaterback" made by Paragon. As a previous poster mentioned, it is a servo type thing that mounts to the thermostat, that turns it up/down in response to the timer. I picked one up (new in the box) at a yard sale some time back, and gave it to a friend since my w/h is electric. For some reason, the instructions specifically say not to use it on a propane unit, which is what he has, so he did not use it. Next time I talk to him, I'll ask if he still has it. Larry
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probably easier to add more insulation since timer only effects standby loses.
minize standby loses by superinsulating
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having
manual
I beleive the WH he's talking about is the standard tank-type unit that uses no electricity to operate.

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That is NOT a bare copper wire, it is a capillary tube that conducts a liquid that is heated in the pilot light and uses the pressure to operate the valve.
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It could be either a tube for pressure operation or the outer conductor of a coaxial wire pair. The wires are used for thermocouple type sensors and electromagnet operation of the pilot section of the valve. Both types were common at one time.
Don Young
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having
Wrong.
Good thought, though.
The Flame at the tip makes two different metals generate a very small amount of electricity, in the milli-volt range. That electrical current is enough to hold the pilot solenoid open. It won't open the pilot solenoid, that's why you have to push the button when lighting the pilot.
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On Mon, 17 Jul 2006 19:44:19 -0400, "HeatMan"

The current is generated by a difference in temperature. A difference that won't be there when the pilot has been off and needs to be relighted. You need to hold the button down until the end of the thermocouple (the one in the flame) warms up enough for it to generate enough current.

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A "hack" method would be to get a heavy duty RC servo, couple that to the thermostat such that when energized the servo would spin the thermostat knob to pilot light only, then spin the knob back to the appropriate heat setting when desired.
Obviously one would need a way to energize the servo, but that should be a simple task. (via the parallel port of a PC comes to mind) AFA energy savings, (if that is your intent) it may be minimal. A well insulated hater heater in a conditioned space (basement) does not lose much heat over a 24 hour period. Any heat that is lost helps maintain temp in the area.
Anyway good luck with whatever you want to do.
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