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Turn Hot Water Heater Off When Leaving

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If you have an electric water heater, after taking your night-time showers or washing your dishes, whichever comes last, shut off your water heater. I flip the breaker that controls only the water heater. Turn it back on in the morning. There is enough hot water left in the water heater for any reason you might need it, while the water heater is turned off. I save at least $20.00 a month by doing this.

By Linda :o) from Beautiful Missouri Ozarks

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By Ruth Neuenkirch [1]01/03/2013

We keep the water heater set at the temperature we like for showering. No wasted water trying to blend water to the right temperature. The only thing we need hot water for is the dishwasher and that automatically heats water to the correct temperature when needed. Ruth

By Cricket [201]11/08/2010

Tomatohanger is absolutely right! Also, if you turn it off in the winter time, depending on where you live and where your water heater is located, it may be frozen in the morning! (Don't laugh, I live in southeastern NC and had that happen once!) The ONLY time I would advise turning it off (and this is a huge MAYBE) is if I'll be away on a trip for several weeks, and then ONLY in the SUMMER MONTHS! But I agree with Tomatohanger in that it's just as frugal, and lots safer too, to turn it down to 120° and leave it there.

By Chuck [17]09/09/2010

I don't believe you. To begin with, it takes a long time to heat water. Shutting down the heater after last hot water use during the evening doesn't replace the hot water you used then. You may as well shut it down at noon.
Otherwise, one should set the thermostat at a fairly low temperature and keep it there. Some people think that keeping water temp really hot and then shutting the heater down daily works. That can also scald you or a child.
I'd suggest you contact a licensed plumber and have her explain the details.

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Archive: Turn Hot Water Heater Off When Leaving

This is a money saving tip. I shut off my hot water heater upon leaving my house. When I get back home, I flip the breaker switch back on and have hot water in less than 10 minutes. No one is here to use it and it saves big on the electric bill.

By Judith from Huntsville, AL

Editor's Note: This sounds like a interesting tip. I know that shutting down your water heater is often recommend if you are leaving for a prolonged vacation. One thing you should do regardless, is make sure that your water heater and pipes are well insulated so that the water retains more heat as it stored in the heater and travels through the pipes.

There may be a safety concern with turning on and off a gas water heater regularly. With either gas or electric, you may want to call your utility company and see if they can see any safety problems with this tip. It should be pretty easy to track whether this is saving you money by comparing your current power bill to the previous years.


RE: Turn Hot Water Heater Off When Leaving

Wouldn't it be just as easy to turn down the thermostat as I don't think it's a good idea to keep turning it off and on. I have a gas one and when I am out all day, I will lower it that way. It's still keeping the water warm but not kicking on so much. I am a widower and on a fixed income and with the price of gas affecting everything, I have to cut a lot of corners but do it safely. (05/08/2007)

By margaret, TX

RE: Turn Hot Water Heater Off When Leaving

We have a gas water heater and turn it down to pilot when we are gone. When we return we turn it back to on, this is easier and we don't have to worry about restarting the pilot ligh. We also shut the water off at the main shut-off to prevent water damage if we should have a water pipe break while we are away. (05/09/2007)

By Guest

RE: Turn Hot Water Heater Off When Leaving

I would think you would not want to follow this tip IF you have a gas water heater. A few weeks ago my hubby was doing some renovation work in the laundry room and unplugged our gas water heater. A while later I told him I could smell gas in the house. He has a terrible sense of smell and kept insisting it must be coming from outside or perhaps it was some cleaner bottle that had broken when he was moving things around. We both went out for the day, and when we got home noticed we had no hot water. It was then he remembered having unplugged the water heater. This was 8 hours later! The gas smell was quite strong by then, so we had to open all the windows and clear the air. Thankfully we had gone out and nothing worse happened. (05/13/2007)

By tchase65

Archive: Turn Hot Water Heater Off When Leaving

I was told to turn off my hot water heater during the day as it would save roughly $50.00 per month on the power bill. Wish me luck!

By missysmom from Nokomis, AL

Editor's Note: There may be a safety concern with turning on and off a gas water heater regularly. With either gas or electric, you may want to call your utility company and see if they can see any safety problems with this tip.


RE: Turn Hot Water Heater Off When Leaving

My power company says that cutting it off everyday is not worth it because when you get home and cut it on then it has to run and run to get hot. They said if you are going to be gone for several days then yes it would help! We always cut ours off when we go on vacation. (06/10/2010)

By Teresa Kay

RE: Turn Hot Water Heater Off When Leaving

If your heater was made after 1998, it's probably not worth using a timer at all. A timer for an old (pre-1998) heater will save about 25kWh/mo. for a family of two using 40 gallons a day with the heater off four to six hours a day, but only 14kWh/mo. for a family of four using 80 gallons a day.

Home improvement stores sell a special water heater blanket that you can put around your heater to help insulate it. This reduces energy use by 10-15% -- for a family of two, that's about 21kWh/mo., or $20/yr. at 8¢/kWh. The savings are only slightly less for a family of four.

When it's set on scalding hot, you have to mix in cold water in your shower to lower the temperature, and why make your heater boil the water if you don't need it that hot? You can probably do with the temperature set to 110 degrees F or less. (06/10/2010)

By scott E.

RE: Turn Hot Water Heater Off When Leaving

Recent hot water heaters (10 years and newer) have safety thermometers on them to not get the water over 120 degrees. You can over ride them, but that defeats the safety purpose as well as the cost. (06/10/2010)

By TandT Grandma

RE: Turn Hot Water Heater Off When Leaving

When I lived alone, I would turn off the water heater breaker at night after my shower, I still had hot enough hot water in the a.m. to get ready for work. I have left mine off for up to 2 days and still be warm enough for showers, but as I said, I was single, no family there. I would turn it on before going to work and off again when I got home. Strange an electric company saying it isn't worth it, when mine said to do it and I have seen it on TV and the internet. (06/12/2010)

By Shelyn