Water heater savings

My first impulse was to run out and buy a hybrid unit to replace the electric hog.  I saw that the yellow and black stickers on the hybrid claimed $125 a year in electricity while the all electric is rated at $525.  So, first instinct was wow I can save $400 a year by buying a unit that costs about $1,200, or a simple payback of three years. But then I took some time and got enough historical info from Sense to see that I was not actually using that much.  Those ratings are based on an average family of four, and we are only two people. 

My usage was trending at between $150 to $200 on an annualized basis, so the capital expense did not make sense.  But I came up with a solution to fix another problem.  Our master bath is very far from the hot water heater and it would take running the shower for about three minutes to get it to be hot for a shower, that was a lot of wasted water; and water and sewer are expensive here.  Everyone told me to just install an instant unit for the bathroom, but they are not cheap and you have to cost of plumbing and electricity to the unit.  So, I installed a re-circulating pump at the hot water heater.  The Watts unit I installed requires no separate loop as it bleeds water from the hot to the cold line under a sink in the bathroom.  It opens when the hot water drops below about 95 degrees, but does not do anything if the pump is not on as the pressures are just about equal.  When the pump is on it pushes water from the hot line into the cold line and back to the heater until enough water flows to raise the temperature at that end of the house.  Yes it dumps a trivial amount of heat into the cold, but no big deal as you only run it as needed.  It comes with a timer that has I believe 5 minute segments for the entire day.  While this is great for those on a fixed schedule it did not make sense for us.  So the other thing I learned about from the Sense community and Facebook group was about the TP-Link HS110 energy plugs.  I installed a TP-Link HS110 smart plug on the circulating pump that only uses like 25 watts. I then wrote a routine in Alexa that on command turns the pump on for six minutes.  Next I installed an Alexa Button which looks like the famous Staples button that runs the routine when pushed.  That sits on the counter in the bathroom and we just push it when we are getting ready for a shower.  Now we run the hot water for about 10 seconds rather than three minutes saving a lot of money on water and sewer charges.

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5 Replies to “Water heater savings”

  1. Our water heater is an electric hog, also (even though it’s new). And our master is a long run from it.
    So I did something similar. Used a ‘Chilipepper’ pump with a push button on the sink. It runs maybe 30 seconds, pulling the hot water over to the master bath, saving energy, water, and sewer. I just checked Sense, and it costs 2 cents/month to run!

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