Hm... what do folks think of this one?

Posted by Kromey at 12:19pm Jun 8 '12
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So while browsing Amazon looking for more cost- and energy-saving home improvement ideas, I came across a 24-hour electric hot water heater timer.

The idea is that you don't need hot water 24 hours a day; this little bad boy is designed to sit between the mains line and your electric hot water heater and shut off power for set periods during the day, saving you energy and money.

The hot water heater in (soon-to-be) our new house is natural gas, though, but I think the premise is still sound -- it still relies on electricity to run all the sensors and controls, and the timer could save us on our gas bill. I'm just worried that the "start-up" cost when the timer flips the thing back on and the hot water heater has to heat up almost its entire volume could compromise our savings.

What think the almighty 4K? If, for example, we shut the hot water heater off from 10PM (there'd still be hot water for a bit after that, especially as I fully intend to add a blanket to the hot water heater and insulation to the pipes) until 6AM (8 hours), it would then have to replace all the heat lost over that period -- although it wouldn't have spent any energy maintaining the temperature during this period. It's located in our heated garage, although we fully intend to keep the garage at a much cooler temperature (no more than 60F/15C, probably closer to 50-55F/10-13C), so the water could get that cold; conversely, we plan to set it (for at least a trial period) to 120F/49C (the usual setting is 140F/60C, apparently). Still, that's 60-70 degrees F/40-36 degrees C that the hot water heater may have to add to its 40-gallon (50-gallon?) volume; could that eliminate the savings we might otherwise see from not maintaining that temperature overnight? Or would we still be looking at saving some money on our gas bill?

I haven't the faintest idea how to even begin to estimate this...
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