Installing Electric Water Heater Timer

Help! Water Heater Issues!

Dear NH,
I have an electric water heater in the mobile home I recently purchased and the monthly electric bills are very high. Can I put an automatic timer on the line to turn off the heater during the night when the heater is not in use? I realize that I need to put an insulating blanket on the heater and drain the sediment out regularly.
GH from Chico, CA

Water Heater Timers

Installing a timer on your electric water heater is one of the best ways to save big bucks on your electric bill; that is, once you take care of the "simple" methods such as adding extra insulation to the tank and lowering the water heater temperature to 120 degrees.

Using a timer is simple. The more continuous time you have the water heater turned off, the greater your savings will be. Be sure to get a timer that offers multiple on-off times. A typical time schedule might be on at 5am (for showers starting a 6am), off a 7am (when everyone is off to work or school), on again a hour or so before the first people arrive home, and off before bedtime. There will be a reservoir of warm to hot water available all the time, even after the unit is off for hours, provided your tank is properly insulated.

And, if you are desperate for a 3am shower or get the urge to do laundry after Letterman, just turn the timer on and clean up!

Of course, a timer is not for everyone or every family. If the people in your household are using hot water 24/7, it might be impractical. Having the timer turn off the heater for less than three to five hours at a stretch probably is not worth the expense.

You should visit our collection of water heater articles, which include articles on lowering your thermostat and other energy-saving tips. You'll find it at:

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