Hmm, this is a quick and slightly boring post about something I had never thought about until moving to London – water heaters. All of the water heaters that we had in the States were just there, somewhere, naked and going 24 hours a day. I suppose I knew that it was possible to time them, but I never knew how and I thought it would be horribly inconvenient. Boy, was I wrong.
First, our water heater is timed, and our timer does allow you to turn it on at will, if need be. Our timer is set to go on about 30 minutes before we wake up, and only for 90 minutes. This provides enough hot water to see us through morning showers, plus it heats enough to last us through the day. Then the heater comes on again at night, for another two hours, for those who shower in the evening. Since none of us is inclined to shower until the tank is empty, this works out well for our five person house.
Secondly, the timer only works this well because our heater is lagged, i.e. insulated. Our heater, which is about half the size of the normal one in the States, is well insulated, along with any exposed pipes. In insulation terms, we should probably have a thicker jacket on it, but this is hard to do in a rental house. Still, the lagging keeps our heater toasty, and we usually have hot water throughout the day. We only have problems when we have guests sometimes, who might shower longer or more frequently.
So, all in all, we only have our hot water heater on for less than four hours a day. We could also probably tweak this a bit, since we can set our timer in ten minute increments. but for now we are satisfied. I can’t start to imagine how much money this saves us.
I mention this, because there are several Home Front pamphlets that detail how to lag water heaters. I doubt many of the materials recommended would pass code today, like felt or an old army blanket, but it was still an important energy conservation measure. This is also echoed in what many politicians here in Britain have been saying in the past few years, particularly in the “leading in lagging” speeches. It makes you wonder why they ever stopped…