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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 from Beautiful Missouri Ozarks
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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 Joyce Lambert 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.
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 Tart
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.
By scott E.
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 Grandma J
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)
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.
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
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)
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)