Note: The following is a guest post from my frugal friend Susan B. She’s written some other great posts for Northern Cheapskate, too, including this one on saving money on gas. Don’t you think she should start a blog?
Because I am a teacher, I get the summers “off.” However, since my parents own a fruit farm, I do more work from June to August than most folks do in 6 months. Because we start picking every early in the morning and because my mom does laundry when I am there, I stay with my folks on the farm. That means my apartment, an hour away from their house, sits empty.
I always make sure my lights are off but this past June I tried something different. I unplugged my TV and VCR, unplugged my microwave, and turned off my hot water heater. When I got my electricity bill I was shocked! I used 98 Kwh of power. The previous year, I used 170. HOLY MACKEREL! I have since read that the hot water heater is the third highest user of power in a home.
Since this experience, I now turn off my water heater by flipping the switch in the breaker box if I am going to be gone for more than 24 hours. My parents have used a timer on their hot water heater for years so it only heats 2 times a day instead of all day and they swear by it. They had to have it installed by an electrician but it has easily paid for itself.
Not having unlimited hot water takes a little bit of planning, but in these days when all power costs are going up up up I sure think it’s worth the effort!