According to energy.gov, your water heater can account for as much as 12% of your energy usage, so unless you have a smart home, it’s worth examining the benefits of using a switch or a timer to control it.
There are various types available.
- An on/off switch is the most basic way to manage your water heater expense, but takes planning because water takes time to heat.
- Countdown timers require a manual start, but automatically shut off at a preset time.
- Programmable timers allow you to set-and-forget a number of presets for weekdays, weekends or a combination that works for your household.
- A Box timer goes several steps further, giving you the ability to control your water heater in hourly increments that can vary each day of the month.
Installation can be as simple as plugging the timer in between the water heater plug and the outlet, or connecting the wiring where it enters the water heater to the wiring on the timer, and then connecting the timer to the water heater. Either way, minimal upfront time and expense should pay off on a monthly basis, if your lifestyle can accommodate not having hot water on demand 24/7.
If you opt for the Time-of-Use billing option, a water heater timer will be essential in making sure it’s off during the On-Peak summer hours of 2 p.m.– 6 p.m. and the winter On-Peak hours of 6 a.m.–9 a.m. If you restrict your hot water use further to the Super Off-Peak hours of 10 p.m.–5 a.m., you will save even more. The plan is not for everyone though. In exchange for lower Off-Peak rates, the On-Peak rates for all the power you use are much higher than the cooperative’s standard residential rates and can quickly negate any Off-Peak usage savings if you don’t plan ahead.
The bottom line is that a water heater timer by itself should help you reduce your electric bill, and they are important to successfully navigating the Time-of-Use billing option.
Are time-of-use rates for you?
Time-of-use rates offer you the potential to save money by using more electricity when demand is low, or during off-peak hours by paying less per kWh than our standard energy usage charge.