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I'm thinking of doing something radical: giving up my daily bath. I could still get clean using the sink and take a bath only once a week. This leads me to an even more radical idea: giving up hot water except for the weekly bath. I had an energy audit which said that if I'm away from home for 4 or 5 days, it makes sense to turn off my electric water heater at the breaker when I leave and reheat the tank when I return. Therefore, if I were going to take a bath only once per week, I could also turn off the water heater and save both water and electricity. Just a thought. Not sure I want to go that far, but the idea is intriguing.
 

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Nothing wrong with a good old fashioned sponge bath.

What about dishes and laundry?

Is it feasible to get a smaller water tank? Or set it on a timer?
 

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Based on what I heard from the energy audit, a timer wouldn't be helpful, because it takes more energy to heat up the tank than to keep it hot. It only makes sense to turn it off if it's going to stay off for at least 4-5 days. I don't think a smaller tank is feasible, either, but I am considering 3 other options: 1) a newer, more efficient water heater, 2) a solar water heater, or 3) a demand hot water heater that runs on propane.
I think I could do the dishes and laundry with cold water. Or I could save up the laundry for the one day a week I have the water heater on.
I'm glad you don't think I'm crazy! LOL
 

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I think it makes sense. When our hot water heater broke I managed fast cold showers for a couple days but washing my hair in cold shower water was too uncomfortable. I think I washed my hair in the sink once. For washing dishes or clothes you could just heat a small quantity of water very hot and add to cool tap water in the sink or washer. We have a electric kettle that would work fine for this. Give it a try!
 

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What do your electric bills usually run? Long time ago we had an electric challenge. It lasted a few years. Kind of like a "how low can you go" type thing.
 

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I would check a bit more before I started turning the water heater on and off. Legionella bacteria thrive in lukewarm water. Our tank is kept at 62 deg Celsius (140 deg Fahrenheit) to avoid legionella. Could a tankless or demand type water heater be a better solution for you? Tankless or Demand-Type Water Heaters | Department of Energy

I shower every other day, washing with cloth the alternating days. More than that, and my hair looks greasy.
 

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when we lived in our last house we had a small (5 or 10 gallon, I forget) water heater that had a wall plug. We would plug it in once every couple of days, for an hour, to get hot water. Just the two of us, and I would heat water on our wood stove for dishes. Did cold water laundry . Never got Legionnaires disease!!

That being said, I can think of several dozen things I would rather give up than my warm shower!! I don't feel clean with a "wash up", you are just smearing the dirt around with the washcloth.

My sister-in-law used to live in a house with a regular water heater in the basement and a switch or timer at the top of the cellar stairs. She would just turn it on when she felt the water was cooling down. I thought that was a great idea.
 

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only once per week, I could also turn off the water heater and save both water and electricity. Just a thought. Not sure I want to go that far, but the idea is intriguing.
Be careful not to turn on the electricity when the water heater is empty, that will quickly fry the heaters (they need the water to cool them).
 

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When we moved in there was a tankless. It may have saved money but they aren't generally long lived like a conventional tank. The people that had it before us had it maybe maybe 2 years. We had it a year. Many regret going that route. I researched them before we replaced to see if we wanted to go that route again. A lot of people said the same as I just did and said they wouldn't do it again. Most of the ones that would were environmentalists.
 

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We live in NC in a fairly large home and have 3, 100% energy efficient electric tankless water heaters. I installed them in 2008 when I finished building the home and have only replaced 1 $20.00 element to date. I have installed many water heaters over the years and depending on the PH of the water has determined their life. I have seen many develop leaks in 3 to 5 yrs, and the Labor cost be more than the free tank replacement. I prefer the tankless, they only heat the water with 2gpm flow going thru the heater. The good electric tankless heater are Stainless Steel.
 

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We have two extra layers of insulation around our hot water heater. It's brought our bill down by about $60 a year alone. We also setup a solar water heater in the backyard that we use for dishes and baths. I was warned by a friend who works as a plumbing contractor that turning the hot water heater off and on would actually put additional strain on the heater and could end in the heating element prematurely burning out or losing performance.
 

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Just wondering if the OP is still on the boards, what they ended up deciding to do with the water and tank, etc.

Inquiring minds wanna know. ha!
 

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In the summer I bathe everyday. I love taking a bath. I use Epsom salts and essential oils, they are very good for you. I do not fill my tub up to the top or even midway, I fill it about 1/3 full. In the winter I do bathe every other day. I wash my hair first, I have short hair. I do not get dirty at my job since I sit at my station on my computer and the so called heat is really cold air.

In the winter our hot water heater runs through our oil furnace first and into the hot water heater so the water is already heated, a nice plus!


I do not think I could give up hot water. I do consciously think about how to use less hot water and less water in general.
 
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