I have a summer place in Montauk, New York. We turn off the electric hot water heater in fall til spring when not using. The hot water heater in in a basement room, shared with other units' hot water heater. We have an electric heater in the room to keep it from freezing. The bills are so high. Is there a cheap way to keep hot water heaters from freezing? Thanks.
Have you considered winterising by draining the hot water tank and disconnecting it from the electricity and plumbing?
We used to drain ALL of our pipes/plumbing, turn off the water to the holiday house as well in the annual winterising programme. The holiday house was in an area of NW GA that routinely froze, winterising in that way prevented the nasty surprises on our first weekend at the cabin.
There are wraps to put around furnaces and water heaters to protect them from freezing as well. Hardware, plumbing and general building supply places should have them.