Should You Have A Timer Installed On Your Hot Water Heater?

If you're looking for a way to reduce your energy costs and make your home a little more eco-friendly, installing a timer on your hot water is one option. The timer controls an on/off switch on your water heater, so that it keeps your water warm during certain hours and lets it cool down during others. By not keeping the water hot all day long when you're not using it, a water heater timer, at least in theory, reduces your energy consumption. While a great choice for many homeowners, hot water heater timers are not for everyone. In some situations, in fact, they may be more of an annoyance than a blessing. Consider these pros and cons to decide whether you should have a timer installed on your hot water heater.

Pros of Hot Water Heater Timers

Water heater timers are easy to install.

Gas hot water heater timers are rather easy to install, and you can probably do so yourself rather than calling a specialist. Follow the instructions on your timer's package pull off the temperature knob and attach the timer behind it. Electric water heater timers are more difficult and dangerous to install, so you'll want to have a professional electrician or HVAC specialist do this for you. Still, the project is quite simple and should take less than an hour.

Water heater timers are inexpensive.

Expect to pay between $50 and $100 for a decent water heater timer. With the money you save on your electric bill, you can expect the timer to pay for itself within a matter of months.

The water stays hot for several hours after the timer turns off.

Even after the timer shuts off, the water stays warm in the insulated heater tank for some time. This is great for days when you get up a little late and take your shower after the water heater has already turned off. You have a little leeway when it comes to timing your water use.

A manual override switch allows you to heat the water at off-schedule times.

If for some reason you need to take a shower in the middle of the day, when your water heater timer has turned the heat off as per your schedule, you can push the manual override switch, and the tank will heat up.

Cons of Hot Water Heater Timers

If you have an irregular schedule, the timer may not save you much money.

Water heater timers offer the most money savings for families who only use hot water for an hour or two in the mornings and evenings. If you have multiple family members who use the hot water at various times of day, and thus the schedule you set on your water heater timer rarely calls for it to be off, your savings won't be substantial.

It takes a while for the water to heat after you manually override the timer.

You still have to wait 30 - 60 minutes for the water to heat up. This may be inconvenient in situations where you need to run home for a quick shower in the middle of the day and don't have time to wait for the water to heat up.

If the timer fails, you may not have hot water when needed.

There's always a chance your hot water heater could break, and when you add a timer to your system, you increase the chances of failure since you have one more apparatus that can malfunction. If your timer fails, you may find yourself without hot water for a day or two, and it may be hard to determine, without the help of a professional, whether the problem is the hot water heater or the timer.

If you have a pretty consistent schedule and don't mind investing a small amount of start-up time and money, a water heater timer may be a cost-friendly and environmentally friendly addition to your home. Since the price of water heater timers is generally affordable, you can always try a timer and see how you like it, and then have it removed if it does not work out. For more information, contact a water heater installation company.