Little Gray Box Electric Water Heater Timer

The Little Gray Box Electric Water Heater Timer by Intermatic


Little Gray Box Electric Water Heater Timer

Last week, Mr. A heard a commercial on the radio that electric water heaters can use 1/3 of a home’s total electricity usage. The commercial was for one of those water heaters that provide hot water on demand, and are supposed to cost much less for electricity.

Well… when we first moved here back in 2001… I bought this Little Gray Box Water Heater Timer. For reasons unknown to me, I couldn’t persuade Mr. A to install this timer. After a few months of reminding him, I just dropped it. It’s been sitting in the same spot on one of my bookshelves, collecting dust.

However, the state of our economy has my guy in a bit of a tizzy, and he told me “we” should get that water heater timer installed, since “I heard on the radio it uses up to one-third of our electricity! Do you know where it’s at?” I went right to the bookshelf, moved a few things which were in front of it, and handed it to him.

Today he installed Intermatic WH40 Electric Water Heater Timer.

The timer comes with three sets of on/off trippers. We talked yesterday about when we need to have hot water. Mr. A tells me he hasn’t used hot water to take a shower since the beginning of the summer, so that doesn’t factor in for him right now, but it will when the weather cools down. Our sons aren’t bound by a set schedule, so they will shower when the water is available. I usually take a shower in the morning between 4am and 4:30am. Sometimes I take a shower in the evening before going to sleep. We are on a time of day plan with our electricity company, the cheapest rates are between 9pm and 9am. We never use hot water for washing clothes, in fact we only have the cold water hooked up, so that isn’t a concern.

I understand it takes an hour to heat the tank, but I’m not sure how long the water will stay hot. So to start with, I’m going to start the water heating at 3am, so it will be hot for my morning shower. I’m going to let it run until 9am, and hopefully the water will stay hot until around noon, which should give us plenty of time for washing dishes, etc.

Intermatic Little Gray Box Water Heater Timer

In the afternoon, which is during the peak cost for electricity, since I need the option to shower in the afternoon, and would like hot water for dishwashing in the evening, if the urge to wash dishes happens to strike, I’m going to set it to for 5pm to 7pm. I’m hoping the hot water will stay hot or at least warm enough for 2-3 hours. I’m only using two sets of trippers to start with, and I’ll adjust as we go, or add another set of trippers if we need another hour’s worth of usage during the day.

It will be interesting to see how much our electricity usage will be affected, now that the hot water heater will only be running 2 hours during the on peak hours, and 5 hours during the off peak hours.

The most frequent question I get when I talk about our electricity is why is our bill so high? Well, the number one reason is we live in the Arizona desert. Our home is all electric. We also rely on electricity to bring water into our home. Usually water is brought into a home by city pumping stations. We haul our own water from the community well, and store it in an underground tank that holds 2500 gallons. In order to keep our water pipes primed, our pump runs occasionally throughout the day to pull more water out of the holding tank.

We moved here in July, the hottest month of the year, and the first thing we did was to apply heat control window film to every window. Mr. A has one of these industrial instant read digital thermometers so we could actually test the temperature at a window with tint, and one without. There was a significant temperature drop.

For many years when we lived in the city we only had evaporative cooling. It works great for most of the summer, until our monsoon arrives. We have discussed installing an evap cooler many times (read the comments in this post), but due to the fact that it cools by evaporating water, there’s that issue that we haul our own water that keeps us from doing it. Another factor is that my oldest son and I have asthma and it’s pretty dusty out here.

Anyway, I’m very pleased that our water heater timer is finally installed after all these years!



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1 thought on “The Little Gray Box Electric Water Heater Timer by Intermatic

  1. We installed a little gray box about 15 years ago. Saw a dramatic drop in our electric (whole house is electric) bill after installation. Our electric bill averages about $70 a month. That is entire house electric, plus a freezer and router keep on 24/7 (have to phone service is magic jack and only $5 a month). Our water heater access panel it located on the outside on our home. Heater is only on twice a day and 1 hour at a time. The water stays hot for about 6 hours after initial heating. LOVE this product! It has saved us hundreds and hundreds over the years.


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