In this day and age of sky-high energy bills, people try to save on utility costs any way they can. One of the ways to do so is easy to overlook; a hot water tank timer, because hot water heaters are most likely kept out of sight, and out of mind.
A Hidden Waste
Most homes are built with the hot water heater in a closet, out in the garage, or tucked away neatly in a utility or laundry room. Thinking about something like a hot water tank timer could be the last thing someone would target as one more way to pinch a little off utility expenditures.
Remembering to program the thermostat for the air conditioning unit or flipping the switch off of lights is a lot easier. These things are right there in our face, so to speak. But to remember an appliance you rarely ever see unless it goes on the blink, well, that is another story.
Ironically, one of the biggest energy eaters in the home is the hot water heater; responsible for up to 40 percent of electricity costs. Hot water heaters powered by gas provide the most efficient, economically sound method of getting water hot, but many households hot water comes from electric-powered tanks. No easily accessible switch to turn them off and on as you would do a light is available. And so here is where the hot water tank timer comes in.
Heat Water Only When Needed
Most people do not use their hot water heaters all day long. Usage comes mainly in the mornings when people are getting ready for the day with activities like cooking breakfast, shaving, and showering, bathing, and in the evenings when they are doing those same things. Installing a hot water tank timer that only comes on at these peak-usage times and then shuts the heat off for the rest of the day makes good sense that reverberates all the way down to the pocketbook.
You can get a hot water tank timer at most full-service hardware store or home improvement stores very reasonably. Basic units start at around $30, and you can get fancier models that go for a little more than that. The costlier units turn off and on at shorter intervals so that water does not cool completely and doesn’t take the 15 or 20 minutes to heat up like it would with a basic unit that does stay off long enough for the water to completely cool down.
Break Down and Pay for a Pro
A hot water tank timer can be installed yourself, but if you are not handy at that type of thing, you may be better off going ahead and hiring a professional electrician to install it for you. This will cost probably a couple times the price of the unit itself, but then you can be assured the timer has been installed correctly.
You wont be able to retire early by installing a hot water tank timer, but you will save significantly on your electric bill. After only a few months of use, this gadget will more than pay for itself. And then, if you do other things like turning down the thermostat so that your water heats up to no hotter than about 120 degrees, you will save even more (and be less likely to scald yourself, to boot!). So the moral of this story is: spend a little and, over time, save a lot.