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?
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?)
I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life
which are the real ones after all. --Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957)
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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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