Turning Off the Water Heater to Save Money

Does anyone know if there is any harm caused by turning off water heater when I am not home? Since I am not home all day, I am considering turning off water heater at circuit breaker when I leave. Can this cause any problems to the heater?

By Susan

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It shouldn't cause any problem. Just have to wait for water to warm up after you turn the unit back on. You could also investigate having an electrician install a timer on the heater so it would turn an hour or so before you get home. Then you would have hot water when you get home. Only problem would be possible pipe freezing in winter.

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You won't save much if anything on a daily basis. It just takes longer to bring it up to temp on your return. Although when I am gone for days as on a trip I do turn it off, both to save and for safety. I also turn off the laundry water in case of hose bursting. It would not hurt the water heater but may wear out to breaker. They are not intended to be a switch.

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It should not cause any problem to turn it off, but it will need more power to heat the water from the start, so I do not think it will be a great saving. Instead, during warmer days, you might lower the thermostat, you do not need very hot water in summer time. If you need a small amount of very hot water, just put the kettle on.

Anyhow, never turn off the water heater in winter, as the water might freeze in the pipes and the heater, and the water would leak on the electrical system (which in France) is under the heater. Imagine what it can do.

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We have been doing this every day for years with our electric water heater, summer and winter. The water will still be warm 24 hours later. It usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes for it to get back up to full hot water. It also has never damaged either the heater or the breaker. There are timers made just for this problem tho. Our electric bill fell to 1/2 of what it had been. Nobody believed us until they saw our bill compared to theirs! LOL, Kathy, Ms.

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I don't know if it would cause harm to the water heater, but I wonder if you're really going to save much money. They say if you set your thermostat too high/low (depending on the time of year) while you're away at work, the system will have to work harder to get the air to the temperature you want once you're home. I don't know if it would be the same for the water heater. You might want to track your energy usage and compare to see if it is worthwhile.

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I have been doing this for 30 years, though an electrician will discourage it- I have had no problem. I am single and only turn it on every other day for about 20 minutes and have water hot enough for most uses, though I don't use the dishwasher. It does save money, especially in the winter!

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Not sure about a water heater, but one year I decided to turn off the large pilot light flame on my old furnace for the summer. The basement is a bit damp in summer. When I turned the flame back on in the fall, the entire burner unit and a couple other things had rusted out and had to be replaced. Cost more than it would have to leave the flame burning! --shoe

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There are easier ways to save money. Here's a link that will help.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en& ... 0l25l25l0l12l12l0l265l1951l1.10.2l13

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You may burn out the heating element by turning it on and off. Basically, it's a "what if" situation, not a "will happen".

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I don't know about the rest of the world, but the whole pipe freezing issue is a non-issue, if you are talking about plumbing in Canada. If the water froze in the hot water pipes, it would freeze in the cold water pipes. The only time you have to worry about this is if your furnace goes off in the middle of winter for several days so that the temp of the house goes below freezing. You can also leave the water running if this happens, which will prevent freezing for some time.

I have had water pipes freeze up in mobile home if it was not insulated well enough around the pipes. Here in Sask we have to use heat tape around the place where the water comes out of the ground and goes into the mobile home, or at least we used to. Perhaps they have better methods now.

Further to the hot water heater issue, you can purchase "blankets" to wrap them in which insulates the heater and prevents heat loss. This is likely a better option. New water heaters may already be insulated very well and may not need this.

When I was staying in a small hotel in Greece, where we had 10 gallon water heaters in each bathroom, we were asked to shut the breakers off when we left for the day, but we found that the water stayed hot pretty much the whole day anyway, so it wasn't a problem. In the morning, it required about 1/2 an hour to heat the water up if we had not left the heater on overnight-- which, also, we were asked not to do. I don't know if this was a good idea or not, but it was what we did there.

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My water heater as a temp setting. Does not totally cut it off so no damage to heater. Each day i leave for work, I turn it to vacation setting or not in use during night. Been doing it for over a year on a 10 year water heater. Savings is great.

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