is a self-help website
Figure volts amps watts for water heater
How to replace thermostat Troubleshoot electric water heater Water heater manufacturers How to replace thermostats
How to test water heater elements How to remove rusted element Troubleshoot gas water heater How to replace element and clean tank
e-mail question
How electric water heater works How thermostats work
Leaking water heater 9 ways to save with water heater How to replace thermocouple
Search waterheatertimer.org / all results
Search using Find button  

 Tweet button  

Water heater causing high electric bill

Electric meter

How to solve problem.

1) Test using Electric meter
Do not run any hot water from for 2 hours before starting test.
Do not use any hot water during test.
-Observe electric meter for 1 hour, and how fast it is changing with normal electric use.
Turn off breaker to water heater, and observe if electric meter is slower.
-Then turn off all electric usage in home, except turn on breaker to water heater.
Compare electric meter change after 1 hour.
-These tests will reveal if water heater is primary suspect.
-Repeat same test for other appliances, if water heater is not causing problem.
-Don't do the following: If electric meter is suspect, break with hammer and they will replace meter. Stand on dry boards. Electrocution danger.

2) Water leak
Turn off all water taps and put ear against water pipe at water heater.
Listen for water leak.
Is floor wet next to TP valve? Overheating or bad TP will cause hot water release
Observe water meter to see if it advances even when water taps are OFF.
Consider that toilets might be leaking, but this would not draw hot water from tank.

Water leak from hot side can constantly pull hot water out of tank, causing water heater to run full time.
Call plumber if leak is detected.

3) Incorrect plumbing.
-Hot water pipe connected to cold water usage point such as toilet, or outdoor tap.
Flush toilet and feel hot pipe on top of tank to see if hot is drawn from tank.
-Hot and cold pipes might be reversed top of tank.
Run hot for a few moments, and feel pipes at top of tank to identify hot pipe.
Top of tank has H and C markings.

4) Replace both thermostats... there is no reliable way to test thermostats.
Thermostat replacement is quick and easy, costing about $30 for parts.
Turn power off.
Take photo of wires before disconnecting from thermostats.
Water heater thermostats at Amazon

5) Replace both elements and clean out bottom of tank.
Sediment in bottom of tank can build up and reduce heating efficiency of lower element.
Lower element runs continually, using electricity.
Water heater elements at Amazon

6) Recirculation system
If water heater has recirculation system.
Faulty recirculation system can run continuously and cause water heater to run more.
Recirculation systems

Basic household non-simultaneous water heater
See larger
Single handle faucet

Do not turn on hot side when using only cold water

Save $2-8 per month.
When hot is turned on, even a moment, cold water immediately enters water heater. Water heater runs more. Single handled faucet lifted in center will draw hot water from tank. Applies to gas and electric heaters.
9 ways to save with water heater

Fix leaks, drips, bad faucet cartridge:

Fix drips and leaks, so hot is not constantly drawn from tank
Bad faucet cartridge can draw hot from tank when cold side is turned ON/ crossover
How to test for crossover
Leaking water heater
How electric water heater works
main breaker box
Larger image

Basic water heater electric:

Elements are heating only when testing across both element screws shows 240Volt.
Otherwise with most brands of tank wiring (except AO Smith and subsidiaries) element screws on both elements will always test 120V to ground, even if they are not heating.
It's just the way 240v circuit and water heater thermostats work together.
How electric water heater works

Basic US breaker box illustration on left, shows why each leg of 240Volt power tests for 120V:

Basic non-simultaneous water heater wiring means only 1 element is ON at once: so one element is heating or other element is heating or both elements are off... at no time are both elements ON at same time.
Most residential water heaters are non-simultaneous... and this can be verified by looking at label on side of tank for word 'non-simultaneous', and by checking how the wiring look on upper thermostat.
Figure volts amps watts for water heater
How electric water heater works

Turn off power:

Buy non-contact voltage tester at Amazon
Multimeters at Amazon
Electric testers at Amazon
Shop Amazon - Industrial and scientific
Shop Amazon - Industrial Electric Products
circuit breaker

Use correct size breaker and wire

Larger wire runs cooler
Undersized wire runs hotter, and also heats up circuit breaker, causing possible damage to main panel busbar, and shortening life of breaker

Use 30 amp breaker and 10 gauge wire up to 5500 watt elements
20 amp breaker and 12 gauge wire maximum 3600 watt elements.

Wattage shows on end of each element
To check wire size, buy short piece of 10 gauge wire at local store for comparison
Color code for wires
circuit breakers are warm

Water heater blowing breaker

Move wires to different same-size breaker and see if problem continues Resources:

Stress test breaker panel
How to replace circuit breaker
Install electric meter on water heater

Install electric meter on water heater or appliance

Gas and electric water heaters Industrial electric at Amazon

Industrial supplies at Amazon

Industrial and scientific Amazon
Intermatic control centers Intermatic control centers:
+ manuals and parts

Including Z-wave
box timers Compare box timers

Control with Z-wave
programmable timer Compare programmable timers

Control water heater with programmable wall timer
Countdown timers Compare countdown timers

Control water heater with countdown timer
Compare power packs

E-mail: geno03245w@gmail.com
My response might end up in spam folder, check email folders
Site map
Follow newest idea on twitter
Privacy policy