REQ: Should I Consider Putting Timer on HWH?

What with the escalating cost of electricity, it strikes me maybe I can save some bucks by putting a timer on my hot water heater. I could set it to heat HW only when needed (assuming Frau and I can regulate our needs). Certainly it could be off, say, midnight to wake-up. Maybe I am dreaming here?
I wonder: (1) Do they make 220V timers? Are they expensive? (2) Would I save enough to make it worthwhile? After all, there is the cost of the timer as well as insulation to wrap to HWH itself. (3) I would think it would consume more electricity to re-heat the water each cycle as opposed to maintaining the heat, once hot. Am I wrong?
Thanks
Geezer
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They are around $ 40 at Lowes. Don't know if you will save much or not.
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The electric company here for quite a while would pay you to take one, and install it for you, iirc. I don't know if they would still do that since their tv advertising push is over. Of course, I haven't been reading the bill inserts, so I don't know much.

you are right on point 3. The goal of the electric company wasn't to time things according to your schedule but to do so against high demand. So going into electric rush hour your water would be hot, but I guess you couldn't heat more until rush hour was over.
I got the discount for AC (which only applies during the summer), but turned down the one for hot water. AIUI, the box on the AC is radio controlled, so when demand exceeds a certain point, they turn off my AC.
Don't know if they have this where you live./

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Most of the energy used by the water heater is to heat the water. To save energy one needs to reduce hot water use. Low flow shower heads, only running a full dishwasher, colder water selection on washing machine, etc. Turning down hot water temperature may help. Not so easy in the winter when incoming water is below 40. Thus if your hot water is 120, to take a shower at say 105, something like 80% of the water is hot water. Even with low flow (2.5 gal/min) shower heads a 20 minute shower will use close to a tank of hot water. I have two long haired daughters, you know the story here, they each would like to take a half an hour shower one after the other. Trying to convince them 10 minutes is plenty of time isn't so easy. Keeping the hot water temperature at 120, so they have be quicker does the trick although I get an occasional scream of "Dad the shower's getting cold!"

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You'd be better off by turning down the heater a bit and adding a insulation jacket on it and the HW pipes (if the runs are long). I would think you'd need HW every day. John
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This is just like turning back the thermostat in your house at night. The amount of energy lost as the water cools slightly will have to be put back again in the morning, when it is reheated, so that part is a zero sum game. What you save is the heat loss through the tank being slightly less at the lower average temp while the heater is off. If the tank is well insulated, as it should be, then I doubt you will save enough to make it worthwhile.
In some areas, power companies offer hot water heaters on seperate meters that only provide power during off peak hours. The rate is lower for the consumer and it helps reducte the power company peak load during daytime. As suggested, I'd make sure the pipes are insulated, hot water pipes as far as practical and the cold water pipe too for a few feet from the water heater. You could also put a heat trap in the hot water line, which is basicly an upside down U, close to the tank, so that hot water will not convect through the pipe.
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Thanks for the responses.
Fortunately, my HWH is in a heated garage (more electricity!), so I probably don't have much heat-loss in the HWH. I guess I could consider off-ing the garage heat (50 degrees) and insulating the HWH. The HW pipe emanating from the HWH is insulated (foam) already. Frau loves super-hot showers, so my marriage could be in jeopardy. Also, scheduling things, such as laundry, dish-washing, baths is out of the question. I asked the question and got a negative frown.
Geezer
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Yes. If your water heater is insulated, it's likely the timer will use more electrical energy than it saves.
Nick
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snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

Another thing to consider is that if your water heater is located where heat leaking from it can help keep the house warm in the winter, you are making some use of that little bit of lost heat.
Now, if you really want to get some energy back to help keep the place warm during the winter, just keep the shower drain plugged while showering and leave the water standing in it until it cools to room temperature before letting it drain out. Same approach if you take baths in the tub.
(That's not an idea I can take credit for, but it's suprising how many otherwise clever folks never think about doing that.)
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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On Sun, 05 Mar 2006 14:55:31 -0500, Jeff Wisnia

I didn't think of it, or want to think of it, until I had a few days without a furnace.
But now, I've found it very difficult to drain the tub I use to bathe in until the water.is cold.
Like I said, I would run the shower, into the bathtub (make sure it doesn't overflow and don't expect the overflow hole to accomplish much.) The steam would do a lot, but I would also let the water in the tub stay there until it was cold.
This year, I happened to calculate how much hot water it takes to take a bath, and I know the price of electricity has gone up, and my humidifier is broken, so since then, I've found it very difficult to drain the tub I use to bathe in until the water is cold. I trhink it makes a substantial difference.

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It won't help enough to matter. It probably won't help enough to recover the cost of the timer.

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