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Thread: Does turning off your water heater when you go on vacation make sense?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Keene, NH
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    Lightbulb Does turning off your water heater when you go on vacation make sense?

    Does turning off your water heater when you go on vacation make sense?

    I recently installed a power monitor in my home and determined that my water heater accounts for 20-30% of my electric bill. I went on vacation last week and decided to try a little experiment. I was curious if I turned off the water heater for the week if it would save me any energy because it would have to heat all the water in the tank back up when we got home.

    It took just over 3 kWh to get the water heater back up to normal operating temperature and it took about an hour.

    I can tell from previous days when nobody was home that the water heater uses about 4-5 kWh per day just maintaining the temperature of the water in the tank.

    So the math looks like this...
    Leaving the water heater on with nobody home for 8 days:
    8 days * ~4.5 kWh = 36 kWh

    Water heater off for 8 days and turning it back on when we returned.
    8 days * 0kWh + 3.2 kWh = 3.2kWh

    That's quite of savings! It seems that it would make sense to turn the water heater off even if you were just leaving town for 2-3 days. I've been looking into solar hot water systems but installing a timer on the hot water heater and going with solar electricity might end up making more sense.

    A word of caution... don't do what I did and forget to turn it back on, my wife wasn't too happy about the cold shower she had to take before work!

    Some more background info on our specific water heater. We have a newer 53 gallon, medium efficiency electric water heater. The energy guide label says it should use about 4775 kWh per year which comes out to about 13 kWh per day under normal use.
    Greener People for a Greener World TM

  2. #2

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    This is something that we always do when we leave home for a few days. I have found also that it does save a good bit and it is also a safe idea. You never know what might happen when you are not at home to monitor things.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    California
    Posts
    209

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    Haven't tried that yet Zach because I never think of that before. Well, now that you mentioned then I realized that you are right. Since it can save then I would be willing to do that especially now that most of us are busy as bee. It can do a lot of savings. Thanks.

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