Monday, December 1, 2008

I hate my hot water heater

I live in the midwest, and it decided to be winter here this weekend. So, in winter, when I'm really cold (because we're too cheap to turn the heat above 67 degrees), there's nothing better than a hot shower. Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned cheapness, I have the world's worst hot water heater, and only get a hot shower about once a week.

When we were building our house, I had to go and open an account with the electric company. While I was there, I found out that they offered an electric hot water heater for the bargain price of $1. That's an 80 gallon hot water heater. I made the mistake of mentioning this to my husband. We then decided, foolishly, that an 80 gallon hot water heater for $1 was exactly what we needed to fill our jetted tub and take a shower after lounging in the bath.

The hot water heater has the anti-scald setting of 120 degrees. Unfortunately, it also seems to be missing a temperature sensor. Once you put water in and it heats up to 120 degrees, it's done. The heater does not turn on again until you have run a large volume of water back out. This volume seems to be in excess of 1 shower. That is, if I take a shower in the morning, and no one else uses a large amount of hot water, then my shower the next morning is, at best, warm.

On Friday, my husband took a shower, ran a load of laundry on warm, bathed our daughter. An hour after that, I thought I'd have a good chance of getting a nice hot shower. Boy was I mistaken. I got the coldest shower I've had in years!

I guess I could increase the temperature of the heater. But, have I mentioned that I'm cheap? I can't even imagine how much electricity it would take to heat the water to a constantly hot temperature that I would like. I guess I'll just have to keep trying to run out enough water during the evening to get myself enough hot water for the morning.


  1. We broke down and turned up our water heater some. Our utility bill is nothing compared to the Midwest. Can you put an insulation blanket on the heater?
    Thanks for your nice comment on my blog.

  2. For us, the kicker on our utility bill is the heaters. Godforsaken things.


  3. I would rather go without food or clothing than give up my hot shower. Which I totally need in Southern California when it is 80 degrees outside in December. Yes, I'm lame.

  4. We have the absolute same dillemma. One hot shower kills the tank (if your shower lasts for more than 8 minutes). Thankfully, DH gets up two hours before me, so it has enough time to warm up before I take over.

    Ours also has some weird trip sensor thingy on it. That means, at random, the thing totally turns off. No heat at all. You get all undressed, freezing cold, and then jump in for a nice hot shower, only to be confronted with lukewarm or even COLD water. That is the WORST - especially when you actually NEED to take a shower. UGH. I feel your pain.