Water Heater Rescue: Know-How, Troubleshooting, Anodes graphic

Tanklets > Programmable Thermostats

Q: I am looking for something that will allow me to either change the setpoint water temperature or simply turn off the water heater all together based on a dry contact external input. It is for a residential gas water heater. Something akin to a programmable thermostat you might use for a furnace but for a gas water heater instead.

A: There used to be a device called Qwaterback that would turn your gas water heater up and down as desired. With a well insulated tank, standby losses do go down somewhat. What are you trying to do? -- Larry (10/8/06)

Q: I've read that I can save as much as 10 percent on my water bill by installing a programmable thermostat on my hot water heater, but so far I've not been able to locate one or get an idea of the price for one. I've checked with most of the stores in my area that deal with products of this nature and nobody's ever heard of one. Can you help me? I will be grateful for any information you can get me on this subject. Thanks in advance for your help!

A: To start ... Is the heater gas or electric? If electric, a time clock (electromechanical) can be added to the power supply to turn it off when appropriate. It might be good to find out if your utility has time-of-day metering. This gives lower rates during non-peak hours and higher rates during peak hours.

A time clock on the water heater then would save more by letting it heat only during off-peak hours. A simple but effective approach is to make sure hot water use is controlled, with pipe insulation and low flow showers and good insulation on or built into the tank. R-20 insulation is available now. Heat traps on the heater will help also. You may want to see our article at the Home Energy Magazine Web site. It was in the May/June 1996 issue. -- Larry (1995-2000)