Water Heater Timers FAQs

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How do water heater timers work?

Water heater timers are devices that provide automatic control of electric water heaters. They can be programmed to turn a water heater off or on at times set by the homeowner. Energy savings are derived by reducing the on/off cycling a water heater normally does to maintain the water temperature and by the reduction in heat loss associated with a water tank losing its heat to the atmosphere.

What do I need to consider to help me decide if this device would be beneficial for me?

A water heater less than 10 years old will have increased insulation levels within the tank, compared to older models. The savings potential for newer units utilizing a timer would be reduced because less heat is being lost to the atmosphere.

What is the cost to purchase and install a water heater timer?

Water heater timers can be purchased at home improvement stores for $35-$55 and generally require an electrician to install, with the average cost running about $70. This makes the total cost $105-$125.

What is the energy-savings potential of these timers?

According to the Washington State University’s Energy Program, a water heater timer might save 36 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year on a well-insulated water heater. At the PUD’s current residential rate, this would mean a savings of about $2.85 per year. An older, poorly insulated tank located outside the house would result in higher savings. However, insulating the tank would be less expensive to install and result in greater savings.

In areas with a time-of-use charge for electricity, the savings may increase if the tank is off during peak hours.

(Note: the PUD does not offer time of use rates for residential customers.)

How do I find out more about the Washington State University Energy Program?

You can find the website at www.energy.wsu.edu

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