2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.

C_HeathC_Heath Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
Hey guys, new guy here again. Thanks for the many tips. You guys have put money in my pocket and I mean literally. My power bill was $200 on the nose in Feb, comapred to $106 in March! where I come from thats HALF!

I did have some help from a new wood furnace that I installed. I did have to purchase that but I had been wanting it for years. This had the most impact, heat pump switched to OFF!

The rest was just some conservation and talking to the 4 females in the 2000+ sf home. Now that they are on board, I think we can really start conserving. Yesterday, I went off the deep end. I installed timers on all cable boxes and TV's. I also added a timer to each of the 2 freezers we have. They are currently being monitored but they are both full and should have no problem keeping the extremely cold temps whiles they are in time out.

So heres the big one. I bought a timer for the water heater. I can install it but I dont have a voltmeter so I called my electrician buddy. He called me and told me NOT to install that thing no matter what! I was like why?????? He said when you cut it off, the water temp will cool and then it will take so long to heat back up that it will run longer that it does when it dosent have a timer and will cost me more. Well, like i say, I went of the deep end so Im not going to tell him but Im installing it anyhow. I gotta see for myself.

Thanks again guys for all the help. Im shooting for $75 or less in power. Ill need to be what? around 800 kwh? This is doable.

Comments

  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.
    C_Heath wrote: »
    So heres the big one. I bought a timer for the water heater. I can install it but I dont have a voltmeter so I called my electrician buddy. He called me and told me NOT to install that thing no matter what! I was like why?????? He said when you cut it off, the water temp will cool and then it will take so long to heat back up that it will run longer that it does when it dosent have a timer and will cost me more. Well, like i say, I went of the deep end so Im not going to tell him but Im installing it anyhow. I gotta see for myself.

    I don't think he's right. Cooler water will lose less heat. Although it may not cool down substantially during the night, and then you need to turn it back on early enough to be ready for the morning. So your savings will be very small. Permanently decreasing water temperature will save you more.

    Water heater may need higher amperage timer. You need to check the amperage of the heater and of the timer.

    Do you have natural gas? If so, you may consider a tankless water heater. This will save you a lot.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,063 admin
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.

    For a water heater (or any loads), a timer can save a lot of money if you have Time of Use billing... For me, my off peak power is around $0.10 to $0.40 per kWH and on peak is ~$0.30 to $0.50 per kWH (we have tiered/seasonal pricing, the more power somebody uses, the more they pay--Roughly, >1,000 kWH per month is "maximum price".

    Yes, letting a water heater cool between uses can same some money--But it is probably not that much unless you are gone for days at a time.

    Putting a timer on a freezer (or fridge/freezer) is a bit more questionable. We had the discussion on the best set point for a freezer (even has some information from ~70 year old tests):

    Question - Best Freezer Temperature


    But--cycling a freezer's temperature can worsen freezer burn over time. Basically, when the air is colder than the product, the water "sublimates" (goes from ice to vapor)--And dries out the product (freezer burn).

    Setting a freezer to a fixed point tends to reduce the amount of freezer burn (so can vacuum packing, coating frozen fish in ice, etc.).

    If you are "stuck" with electric hot water, take a look at some sort of Heat Pump Water heater... Typically 2-3x more efficient than resistance heating (especially in warm climates).

    GeoSpring
    Hybrid-Electric Heat-Pump Hot Water Heater


    One old timer poster here (from Florida) felt that Heat Pump hot water was better than going solar thermal heating.

    The one draw back is the Geospring type water heaters tend to have slow recovery times when in heat pump mode--4 folks in a home that like long showers may force the resistance backup heaters to turn on. Or, you may have to look for higher output heat pump hot water solutions.

    I am going to add your conservation testimonial to our FAQ--Very nice to hear of conservation successes too.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,063 admin
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.

    PS, I agree with NG and your electrician (at least for the moment)--Adding a timer to an Electric Water heater is not simple/safe job--It does require some knowledge to do safely.

    Also--Some utilities will give you reduced electric rates if you install a remote control relay. The power company can turn off your heavy loads (water heater, A/C) or "load shed" during times of peak power (usually something like 30 minutes at a time).

    Something like a remote utility controlled relay could save you a lot of money with very little effect on your lifestyle.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.

    Actually adding a water heater timer is relatively simple. It's just a two wire circuit, and the most important thing is to switch the breaker off first.

    As for how much power it will save, that is going to depend on a lot of things including how much hot water you use, how hot it is heated too, how well-insulated the tank is, et cetera.

    If you want to get some idea of how often the tank is on it is possible to wire timers to the elements that will "run up" whenever either is active. That way you'll know how long they are actually on for any given day. This, however, is definitely not a simple thing to do.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.

    A better bet might be to add some insulaton to the water heater. A $10 water heater blanket can save a lot of stand by energy. Also consider the option of a solar hot wqter system and or a gas/propane demand heater.

    Tony
  • C_HeathC_Heath Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.

    Its cold to the touch. Its less than 10 years old but thats the first thing I was going to do is a blanket but the outside is really cool. Dont think that would save any.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,063 admin
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.

    Feeling the outside of the water heater is not going to tell you much... Only things that are losing a lot of heat are going to feel warm (and that is related to surface area--the drain faucet on my water heater can feel hot, but is is only a few square inches and is only hot when the flame is on--So, I have not bothered insulating it--However, some water heaters even come with plastic drain faucets).

    Many (all?) water heaters come with lots of warnings about not insulating them. I guess it is concerns about overheating the internal components like wiring--I have not seen an problems on the few I have done--But it is a very common warning.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.

    They've improved over the years.
    Had to replace ours two years ago. The old one would feel warm on the outside at times. The new one, not so. The insulation is much better now. Yet the new one has no warnings about not adding more insulation.

    Keep in mind this is electric; adding insulation to a gas-fired unit is another situation.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.
    They've improved over the years.
    Had to replace ours two years ago. The old one would feel warm on the outside at times. The new one, not so. The insulation is much better now. Yet the new one has no warnings about not adding more insulation.

    Keep in mind this is electric; adding insulation to a gas-fired unit is another situation.

    For some electric water heaters, I have seen specific instructions not to put additional insulation over the thermostats. There are all sorts of possible reasons for that kind of warning and I have no idea what the real reason is.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.

    FYI, insulating the HW pipe is easy cheap and effective, especially if the 'run' to point of use is long. Insulate every piece you can access.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.

    I have a gas hot water tank and what I notice is that it very rarely comes on when I'm not using hot water, and when it does it's not for very long. Usage of hot water, particularly large quantities at a time, will cause the heater to run a long time, in comparison. I have my heater turned down quite low, as NG recommends, and that really helps to save on the amount of energy consumed. Also, I live in a cold, northern climate, and so any heat lost by the water heater will help to heat the home for at least 6+ months of the year. When it's warmer, the heat loss will not be quite as rapid. I guess it also depends where your tank is situated. Mine is down below in a crawl space. In any case, it's best to just turn the thermostat down a bit.

    I have also heard that if your water temp is too cool, you could potentially have problems with bacterial growth in the tank and water?:confused: I take it that's also dependent on the quantity of chlorine in the water?
    http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/is-it-safe-to-turn-down-your-water-heater-temperature.html
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    I don't think he's right. Cooler water will lose less heat. Although it may not cool down substantially during the night, and then you need to turn it back on early enough to be ready for the morning. So your savings will be very small. Permanently decreasing water temperature will save you more.

    One situation in which the timer will save you money is if you have a Time Of Use rate and pay more for electricity during the day. The standard way to deal with that is to connect the top heating element to always be on in case you run out of water, but only heat the top 1/3 of the tank. The bottom element will only be on when the rates are low, but will heat the whole tank.
    If you are off grid and using electric water heating, (and you should not be doing that!!) then you would want to run the water heater whenever you have extra solar power left over after charging and other loads, since that will help keep the heater from running down your batteries at night.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,063 admin
    Re: 2100kwh in Feb 1073kwh in March so it can be done.

    We have had a few thread about Legionnaires' Disease... This Tree Hugger's article is pretty interesting, and the comments are really good.

    Basically:
    * 70 to 80 °C (158 to 176 °F): Disinfection range
    * At 66 °C (151 °F): Legionellae die within 2 minutes
    * At 60 °C (140 °F): Legionellae die within 32 minutes
    * At 55 °C (131 °F): Legionellae die within 5 to 6 hours
    * Above 50 °C (122 °F): They can survive but do not multiply
    * 35 to 46 °C (95 to 115 °F): Ideal growth range
    * 20 to 50 °C (68 to 122 °F): Legionellae growth range
    * Below 20 °C (68 °F): Legionellae can survive but are dormant

    With some further information (and from the comments)...

    It appears that the bacteria forms mats on the base of the tank--And I am guessing that electric water heaters tend to have more infections because gas water heats heat the base of the tank and help kill the colonies.

    Other issues include old hot water stubs that can sustain a colony even the water heater/piping is hot enough.

    It appears that Canada is much more concerned about Legionellae and the US Government is more worried about scalding.

    Other issues, heating water above ~135 degrees can:
    As a plumber I run water heaters no higher then 135°F for the simple reason that calcium is precipitated at about 138 °F and higher when the SG of the water changes.

    Chlorine based systems are not as reliable for killing Legionellae vs Chloramine.

    And some folks have found running cool water heaters with very cold incoming water (far north), you can get condensation inside the fire box and rust/corrode out the burner assembly.

    So, if you have people that are susceptible to flu/infections (very old, very young, pregnate, ill), sounds like you need to keep the water temperatures up for safety.

    Another one of those subjects where ignorance is bliss.

    -Bill :cry::confused:
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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