Many homeowners ask us if they should turn off their water heater between uses to save money.
Our professional answer after crunching the numbers? No, unless you’re going on vacation for a month or longer, you shouldn’t turn off your water heater.
Instead, if you’re going on a short vacation (less than a month) we suggest just turning your water heater thermostat down or to “vacation” mode.
We’ll explain all of our above points (and throw in some extra energy-saving tips) below…
After some calculations, we determined that the average Phoenix homeowner will only save:
Note: To calculate the numbers above, we used Energy.gov’s water heater energy cost calculator. We plugged in Phoenix’s average electric/gas rates and assumed a 60-gallon gas water heater with an EF of .67/60-gallon electric water heater with an EF of .92. Your specific savings may vary depending on your hot water usage, water heater EF and your local utility rates.
That said, unless you’re looking at a month-long (or longer) vacation, the accumulated savings won’t be worth dealing with some of the problems you may encounter by turning your water heater on/off.
Which brings us to our second point...
When you turn your water heater off between uses and back on within a short period of time, you’ll deal with the following issues:
If you’re going on vacation, turn your water heater thermostat down or to “vacation” mode.
By turning the thermostat down or to “vacation” (an option on some newer models), you can lower the amount of electricity/gas that your model will consume while you’re gone. Most newer water heater models have this vacation option, usually labeled as “VAC” on the thermostat.
Typically, the “VAC” mode will reduce the water temperature to 50° F so that your water heater doesn’t work as hard as it does in normal operation (when it’s constantly keeping water heated to 120-130°F). But this mode also keeps the water relatively warm so that your unit doesn’t overwork itself when you turn the unit back on.
Don’t see this “VAC” option? Then just lower the output temperature on your water heater thermostat to anywhere from 50–70°. This will achieve the same results as the vacation mode.
Interested in other ways to lower your utility bills? Then consider the following water heater energy-saving tips:
Whether you need a water heater repair, replacement or tips, we can help.
Just contact us for 24/7 service and professional certified plumbers who are happy to help.