The Grumpy Old Man

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Save a Bob or Two with your Immersion Heater

Reduce the cost of heating your water with your immersion heater

In our cottage we have a huge cast iron bath. It's absolutely smashing to wallow in as I can stretch out full-length. But, Gordon Bennett, it doesn't half cost a lot to heat the water with which we fill it. What exacerbates the situation is that the hot water tank is really too small for the size of the house. This means, to heat sufficient water sufficiently, the immersion has to be set to its maximum temperature. The problem with this is that the thermostat never cuts out. Grumpy tried setting it just below maximum but we then had insufficient hot water. The problem arises because when the immersion thermostat is set to maximum, it never turns off. Consequently the water in the hot tank boils and the whole hot water system works like a giant coffee percolator, with the hot water boiling up into the cold tank through the expansion pipe.

At the end of a busy day, it is very easy to forget that one has turned the immersion heater on. If this happens, the thing keeps running flat out, using electricity and we are not getting any more hot water for it. With the cost of electricity what it is at the moment it grieves me to think what it was doing to our Electricity Bill.

We did find a very simple solution and to many people it may seem rather obvious. We purchased a small timer and found by trial and error, that if the immersion ran for an hour and three quarters and we would have sufficient hot water.

In fact during the first two month billing period we used this system, we found that the timer paid for itself five times over.

You may find all this information a little trivial but the immersion heater is our sole source of hot water. Looking at the electrical rating of the immersion, I calculate that just under half of our electricity Bill comes from the immersion heater. So anything we save on immersion heater use will have an immediate effect and continue to make that saving month after month.

Grumpy has always believed electricity for heating purposes is most definitely very inefficient. I recall seeing statistics suggesting that the cost of hot water heated by an immersion heater is approximately four times the cost of hot water from a conventional gas fired central heating boiler (which we don't have). Electricity should be the preserve of motorised or electronic equipment. Its use for cooking is perhaps one of the few areas where it can be used as a "heating fuel". To use it for bulk or space heating Grumpy believes is just not what it was designed for! It is hugely inefficient and power stations are known to be a major source of greenhouse gases thus contributing to global warming.