JustAnswer Blog: Home Repair

You are here

True or False - Turning down the hot water heater saves on bills

Photo Credit: Flickr/Scott Akerman

True or False - Turning down the hot water heater saves on bills


By Jessica on November 06, 2014

I don’t know about you but I pay little to no attention to my hot water heater. As long as the water is hot when I need it and cool when I don’t I assume that machine in my basement is working efficiently. My father, on the other hand, is neurotic at best when it comes to the hot water heater at their vacation home, where I spend a fair amount of weekends. Often, I am rushing to take a shower to find out that he has conveniently turned down the heating mechanism which results in a freezing cold shower for me - refreshing, yes; relaxing, no.

Needless to say, we have an endless debate as to whether or not it is truly cost efficient to turn down the hot water heater before leaving the house if only for a few days. Queue an expert solution! I posed the question to a home repair expert on JustAnswer to lay the issue to rest once and for all. Turns out, even if you aren’t there to use the hot water you still have what is called “stand by” loss. Stand by loss is the water left in the tank which cools off when it is not being used. The heater will then use gas to keep the tank water heated to the the indicated temperature even when you aren’t there.

Final verdict? This myth is (unfortunately for me) TRUE.

Have a burning True/False question? Send us an email and your question could be featured in an upcoming blog post. Email us at [email protected]