An electric hot water heater’s impact on your bill

Changing one thing in your household (like plugging in a car or a new plasma TV) can impact your electric bill. Here’s a good example from one of our members:

Electric Hot Water Heater“I just received an email alert that my electric bill is ready for payment. The total due is $124. Last month, my bill was in the $70 range, so an increase of $50 is kind of a big deal. But there is a reason behind the increase; I changed one thing in my house and I knew it was coming. Here’s why:

My boiler turned itself off due to a pump problem in early July. It would be about a month before my uncle – a boiler mechanic – could come have a look, so I thought, “what a perfect opportunity to do an electric hot water heater test.” Specifically, I wanted to find out how much my electric bill would increase if I turned off my boiler during the summer months.

The circuit to my electric hot water heater had been in the off position since I purchased my house in 2009. I had been heating water with my boiler only. There are downsides to an oil-fired boiler in the summer months – my garage (where the boiler is located) stays about 90 degrees and, when running, the boiler is loud. So loud that my friends make comments from time to time.

Running the electric hot water heater doubled my electric usage. Last month, I consumed an average of 19 kWh per day. In comparison, my July bill shows an average of 8 kWh per day. I took roughly the same number of showers and ran the dishwasher, washing machine and clothes dryer the same number of times. I did not use any heat in the house during the two month period. I should also point out that my electric hot water heater is not on a timer.

In a previous blog post, math suggested it was more cost-effective to use a boiler to heat hot water than an electric hot water heater. Of course, many variables come into play. I admit that I appreciated the cooler garage and the quiet in the house during the month of July. But was it worth it? I’m not sure; the fuel bill has not arrived.

If you are trying to do a comparison to your own bill, keep in mind:

  • I am a one-person household;
  • Both the stove and range are propane;
  • And, my hot water heater was not on a timer.”
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