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Hot Water Heater Timer

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This Instructable is a "How to install" for a Hot Water Heater Timer for electrical hot water heaters. This piece of equipment can save you a lot of money and use less energy helping you steward your footprint on our planet. As of installing it we were able to cut out 16 hours of use on our Hot Water Heater daily... that is a 66% saving on a unit that almost runs constantly and uses a lot of energy. The timer was about $40 then another $15 for conduit and couplers and then a few feet of wiring. Make sure the new wiring is equal to or thicker in gauge to the existing wiring. We will run cost comparisons to see how long it takes for this timer to pay for itself.

Thanks to Canida, he gave a great addition below in the Comments: "A necessary addendum to Step 1: verify this breaker actually maps to your hot water heater. Our breaker box had a full set of labels that turned out to be randomly applied!"

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Step 1: Disconnections

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Your next step will be to make all the disconnections:
1. Locate your Power Box on your house and turn off the breaker labeled 'Hot Water Heater', ours was H/W Heater.

2. Remove the plate on the hot water heater then remove the wire nuts.

3. If you have conduit running to the wall then remove the plate and the conduit.
Foxtrot703 years ago
Though not an Intermatic I added a timer to my water heater since I am single and only need to heat water twice a day I have reduced my electric bill in the first month by 50% ! The pay back is incredible.
valcider3 years ago
Love your instructable,just what I was looking for!
Intheknow4 years ago
I love this. All of the comments have been great and the issues have been real. The HW heater timer is a great way to save money on your energy costs. The catch with all energy saving technology is that the equipment you install it on must be working properly. As an energy management contractor I have learned this lesson the hard way. If you want to know what the ROI is, a HW heater uses about 9.2% of the annual electrical consumtion for the average household. You can do the math and you'll see a 2-3 month ROI. Since I just joined I don't know if I missed an earlier conversation but you can also save money on water heating costs by lowering the temperature to say 120 degrees instead of 140 degrees. 140 degree water will certainly cause you a severe burn and is total overkill. Please keep saving energy every way you can and there might be some left for our children and grand children. Best wishes.
artobot4 years ago
I'm thinking about doing this, were any of the energy savings posted? I just want to see if it's worth my effort or if it's more of a headache than a money saver.
MrsHayes5 years ago
Is there a method to test whether or not it is actually working? My husband installed ours the end of Jan and our hot water bill went from 187.00 to 230.00. I'm really conservative when it comes to heat and anything burning electricity so I doubt it has to do with any increase on our end. I was wondering if maybe we had it installed wrong and is there a sure proof way to tell without having to take it off and re-install it. Any feedback would be helpful. Thanks : )
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zippei MrsHayes4 years ago
A Landlord had one put on years ago & we never had Hot Water, ever? Finally I told her how much the bill was & she could check it for herself. They came back out & the bottom Heating Element was not functioning. So all of the cold water would enter it & move to the bottom. Heat rises, so that why we couldn't get it hot no matter how high we set it. We're thinking about putting a timer on so that we can heat it a little bit hotter then we normally do, then it can cycle from there. Also compare Temp. Days to last years Bill. It should shown on your current Bill. Are you possibly used gaming consoles more? I just read that some of them in Stand-By Mode can cost as much as 2 refrigerators to run!!!A Wii is the cheapest to run. Also, what about Air Conditioning? I've also heard of them wiring it to 1 element instead of both?
It'll only save you money if it allows you to take advantage of lower electricity rates at off-peak times. Otherwise, it just means the thermostat will have to run the heating elements longer to get the water up to temperature. Insulation and taking shorter showers will save energy.
dacker5 years ago
I wish I could do this to my gas hot water heater....
dacker, your wish will become a reality. . I have invented one. Look for it on the web in 4 to 5 months.
http://www.gaswaterheatertimer.com
]Dacker & everyone,

We are getting closer. Please see our first information web site at:
www.gaswaterheatertimer.com

Jeff
Nice! What I was thinkin' was a way of clamping a collar around the temp controller knob on my gas heater and then use a timer-activated solenoid with an escapement, a motor-driven cam, or a stepper motor to change the temp from "night mode" to "normal mode". Part of the trick is to manage the right amount of rotation of said knob.
iPodGuy5 years ago
This instructable inspired me to install the Intermatic WH-80 model last December. I bought mine brand new off eBay for $20, so it is worth it to look around a little bit and save money. I already see a difference in my electric bill, since we only turn the heater on now for about 7 hours a day. Yup... This timer and an R11 jacket is the way to go. Thanks!
I like that ipodguy.....now we need to install a roof mount solar water heater to pre-heat the water going to the heater. These little things well add up big over a year.
The only problem with that is if it starts to leak it will ruin your roof. That happened with us and cost a fortune to repair the roof and then you have to replace the the panels. So just keep an eye on them.
sgt_yates5 years ago
I moved overseas into a house with one of these pre-installed. Actually mine is built right in to the breaker box. It does save on cost during the expensive electricity consumption hours (daytime weekdays) . Just ensure that yours has an easy over-ride feature where you can plan ahead. Mine has pretty good default settings. It goes OFF from 7 to 7, and it remains on constant though the weekends. If you sleep in though, and it is cold outside, expect a lukewarm to icy shower. (=
canida5 years ago
A necessary addendum to Step 1: verify this breaker actually maps to your hot water heater. Our breaker box had a full set of labels that turned out to be randomly applied!
Wow, That's a bit scary.....
obe15 years ago
I will be very interested to see the results of your energy savings / ROI study. I've contemplated installing one of these timers for a long time, but wrestled with the validity of the concept. On one hand, it makes sense to turn of any device when your not using it. On the other hand, it seems like a well insulated tank would not be drawing power during short intervals when no one was using hot water anyway.
dontno5 years ago
You can do it to oil fired Hot Water Heaters too, because it takes electricity to fire them up. Put the timer before the shut off switch. For additional savings wrap your heater in an approved insulation blanket.
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