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saving money

Posted by munymagnet (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 7, 05 at 15:07

Can anyone tell me if it is better to turn off the water heater after use (requiring that it be turned on 2 or 3 times a day to reheat water) or if it better to leave the water heater on except for vacation time?
Thank you for any advise you can give me.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: saving money

I have a gut feeling that your savings could well be infinite.

No, sorry - I meant infinitessimal.

Now, having several family members take showers together would probably lead to a lot more savings of hot water (if one could remember to turn the water off).

Let the dog lick the plates (?). Then all you need to do is rinse with boiling water.

Seriously - I do turn the furnace control down when I leave my home, planning to be away for more than an hour or two. (Usually, that is ... unless I forget, which I did this morning when I was in a hurry).

Somehow, I seem to get into hot water myself, on occasion - could it be for giving smart-assed comments like this?

Good wishes in your laudable efforts to save energy (and money).

joyful guy


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RE: saving money

If you use the same fuel to heat your house as you do to heat your hot water, and if your water heater is located in a heated part of your home (as opposed to an unheated garage or basement) the heat loss from the water tank is not really "loss" during any time of the year when you are running heat in your house. That's because the heat lost from the water tank is put into the air in your house, and therefore your furnace runs a little bit less. So turning off your water heater to save energy there would slightly increase your furnace's energy usage, resulting in the same total energy usage.

During times when you do not run heat in your home, yes, you would save a small amount of energy by turning it off. But the savings would be quite small. A gas water heater uses about $20 a month in fuel for an average size family, while an electric one uses about $35. Your monthly savings would probably be about 10 percent of that at best, because the tanks are pretty well insulated and do not use a lot of energy just to keep the water warm between uses.

A better energy saving strategy is probably to simply reduce the temperature of the water to about 120 F so that it is no warmer than it really needs to be. Having water hotter than that is a safety hazard anyway because it increases the chance that a person would be accidentally scalded by hot water.

However, it is worthwhile to turn the water heater down very low or off when you are going to be away from home for more than a day or two.


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