*UPDATE* Saving Money On Hot Water


For the past two months we have kept the hot water heater turned off all day long, all except for 2 hours in the morning for showers and dishes.

I wish I could tell you this has saved us some money, but in all honesty we didn’t see any difference in our power bill.

So, unfortunately, this ended up not being a frugal tip at all! I think if we lower the temperature on the water heater, that would most likely make a difference in our bill. I’ll have to follow up on that theory as well!

Maybe it was just us though… has anyone else tried this and found it to save you any money?

For those of us who are still heating our water with a standard water heater, here’s a great tip that comes straight from some little old ladies who know just what it’s like living on a tight, fixed income.

To save money on your water heating expenses, plan all of your hot water usage at one time during the day. Whether morning or night, do all of your hot showers, dish washing, and laundry as closely together as possible. Once your hot water chores are finished for the day, turn the hot water heater off at the breaker box.

Do this consistently for a month and you ought to see a significant reduction in your power bill.

When I heard this idea I instantly thought it genius. Why in the world would I want to pay to keep that whole water tank hot all day long when I only need it several times a day?!

The trick is going to be planning. My husband likes a hot shower first thing in the morning. So either I’ll have to leave the hot water heater on all night, or get up 30 min. before he does to turn the heater back on for him. Hmmmm….

I’m anxious to give this one a try! I’ll have to update with the savings in a month or two!

About Kendra 1103 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.


  1. I live in a very hard water area and read that it can affect the function of a tankless hot water tank, because the lines can build up so fast. Not really sure. I hadn’t heard about something Andrea said, needing the furnace to be on to use one? The tank ‘covers’ do help a LOT in insulating your already heated tank water, I think you would do well to invest in one. My daughter had to replace her gas water tank this last week, because it was gas she was required to have a plumber install it. The new tank was 480 and the plumber was 462. MERCY!

  2. I know this is old – I’m reading through your old posts 🙂 – but the reason this doesn’t help is that a standard water heater is only actually actively running for 3 hours a day (newer ones even less). Standby losses only account for 20% (ish) of the energy use. You’ll get much more bang for your buck by using less water in total (low-flow showerhead, aerators on faucets, wash laundry in cold, shorter and less frequent showers, etc.)

  3. We have our elect water heater on a timer system and it does save us money. My husband is an engineer and we were actually able to meter the electric to just the water heater for several months. In a nutshell, it cost us about 45 cents a day to run it 24/7. and about 27 cents a day to run it for 4 hours every day (2 hr in the morning and 2hr in the afternoon).

    If you don’t want to go to the trouble of turning on and off everyday, at least turn it off when you are gone on vacation for more than a day.

  4. We save $50 dollars a month by using a thermal cover for our water heater. Its silver thermal insulation, we double wrapped the water heater with it (gas water heater) and have consistently saved $46-$51 dollars every month for the last 11 months.

  5. I might be able to tell you when we get September’s bill in October, but so far Sept. has been cooler than average plus our rates went up in January so its going to be hard to tell. I doubt that its too significant, but I figure every dollar helps.

    BTW, congrats on your baby. We have a 3 week old daughter (she has 3 older brothers).

  6. I bought a timer for our water heater and installed it at the beginning of this month. I have the heater turned off from 10am to 1pm and from 11pm to 5am. Surprisingly enough, the water is still quite hot. I used a tester to see if the power is off to the heater and it is. Maybe the extra insulation around the heater is keeping it warm. I dunno.

    I have seen whole house tank-less electric heaters beginning to appear in stores and they were about $700 dollars. That’s the direction I would like to go eventually.

  7. You know I used to work for a water heater and furnace company. The main problem with turning off an American water heater is that it takes more electricity or gas to heat the tank than it takes to keep it warm once heated. This is true for American tanks because we have 40 50 and 100 gallon tanks. If we were like everyone else who have smaller tanks it would be different. The tankless water heaters are where the savings are. When you finally have to replace your heater, switch over. It’s a little more expensive in the beginning, but the savings are remarkable over time.

    • Keep in mind that a tankless water heater means NO HOT WATER the moment the power goes out. My limited experience at a workplace was that water out of tap was too hot or cold. They don’t seem to work as well with low flow rate.

  8. I have been following your site for a while now. Really enjoy it. Love when you visit your frugal friend and learn from her. I wanted to introduce you to a very interesting lady. Her name is Jackie Clay and she and her family live in the wilderness in Minnesota. Her site is part of Backwoods Home website. She lives off the grid. Cans almost everything, including milk, cheese, and butter. She uses generators to provide her power to write her monthly column on her computer. She has several animals and shares so much information. I’m sure she would be an inspiration to you on so many levels. She loves her chickens and has great stories about how to care for them. I subscribed to the Backwoods Home magazine, but also check the site a couple times a week to see what she has been doing. It’s BackwoodsHome.com, then click on the Ask Jackie part. Hope you have a chance to look at what she has to offer. There are other great authors too. I really enjoy your site and love the renovations to your home. Great job! Rose

  9. Along the lines of lizzykristine, when I lived in Singapore, all the tiny water heaters (one 5-10 gallons one in each spot) had a wall switch that could be turned off. It only took about 15 minutes to heat, so I got the children trained to turn it on as soon as they got up in the morning. By the time the used the bathroom, picked out clothes, etc, it was ready. Then the switch was turned off before they went to school and stayed of until the next morning.

    I wish houses were built with a similar system here. I have even looked for the switchable outlets like we had over there to no avail. It was perfect for those outlets that got infrequent (or no) use.

  10. A tip for saving water in general:

    Put a 20oz bottle, filled with sand, in the water tank of your toilet. You’ll save water and money with every flush. 😉

  11. I have a tankless hot water heater (which means the furnace turns on and off all day long to keep the system ready for hot water usage). Yeah…last year when heating oil was over $4/gal, I decided to do basically the same thing. I turn off the furnace (I have a switch at the top of the stairs). Water stays warm for about 4 hours. I turn it on to do the kids’ baths, dishes and showers and try hard to coordinate these things Even though the oil is half the price this summer, I am doing the same thing. Of course, this doesn’t work in the winter but I figure every gallon saved is an extra couple of dollars I am not spending–and I am doing something good for the environment at the same time…it’s a win-win!!

    Good tip for those with water heaters!

  12. I started washing all (unless really really dirty or germy) clothes in cold water a little over a year ago, I didnt have to wait but one gas bill to see the BIG difference it made for us. ( I have a gas hot water heater)

  13. When I lived in Ireland, I noticed that all the water heaters were on timers. You get yourself on a routine, and then set the timer accordingly. It would come on half an hour before your morning shower, a few minutes to wash dishes at each meal, and a little bit to wash your face or shower at night. SOOO clever. (Why don’t we do that over here in the USA?!)

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