Save energy in your home

Are you using an electric water heater?

Posted on Oct 25 2017 in Fulton County REMC

Greg Bitterling

Wow, an AC battery! I didn’t even know they existed! Well, if you own an electric water heater with a load control switch, you have one. Now, I know that you might be thinking I am crazy. But it’s true. You have a way to store AC power, or maybe I should say store energy produced by AC power.

I have written before about our load control program, but today let’s focus on the electric water heater. If you own an electric water heater, it uses AC power to heat your cold well water (normally 50 to 55 F) to warm usable hot water (normally 120 to 140 F). This process requires a fair amount of power. But a traditional water heater will store 30 to 80 gallons of that hot water. That hot water acts like our AC battery.

I hope you remember from my previous articles, we contract our power purchases in advance, buying only what we need for that day. If we purchase too much power, we pay for it — even if we don’t use it. If we purchase too little, maybe because of unforeseen weather conditions, we must purchase more power on the open market. This can be very expensive when everyone else needs power at the same time. This is where your AC battery come in use.

You already heated 50 gallons of hot water when the demand for power was low. Because you have 50 gallons of water that are already toasty warm, we can shut off your water and wait to turn it back on until the demand and price of power are down.

You might only use 10 or 20 gallons of hot water during the high-demand period, leaving you with plenty of hot water. Instead of your water heater turning on every time you use one or two gallons, it will be controlled and heat the full 10 to 20 gallons (which you used during the time your water heater was shut off) with less expensive power later in the day.

This saves power cost with one water heater. Now consider the impact of 2,000 batteries/water heaters from our co-op members. Then, multiply the savings by the 19 co-ops in northern Indiana plus all of the out-of-state co-ops doing the same thing. That is a big savings. Load control is getting bigger and better every year, and it all started with your electric water heater.

There are several other reasons to use an AC battery, more commonly known as an electric water heater, in your home. Did you know we offer a water heater program? If you are a full-time resident on Fulton County REMC lines, have a home on a permanent foundation, consent to have a load control switch installed by us at no charge on your electric water heater, we will sell you a 50-gallon water heater at the reduced price of $150. Plus, as long as the load control switch is on your water heater, you will be eligible for free maintenance on that water heater Monday through Friday during normal working hours. So, you get a water heater at a super low price with a lifetime warranty. As long as it doesn’t rust, it can be fixed for free.

Here are just a few more reasons to get an electric water heater:

  • High-efficiency electric water heaters, including heat pump water heaters, are readily available.
  • Electric water heaters are safe. They produce no carbon monoxide, and they pose no threat of combustion or explosion.
  • Electric water heaters can run on power generated from a range of energy sources including solar, wind, hydroelectric and other renewables.
  • Electric heaters don’t lose energy from exhaust or the replacement air that circulates into and out of a house. Propane heaters require on-site storage tanks.
  • Electric water heaters are easy to install. They require no expensive gas lines or exhaust flues.
  • The cost of electricity is less volatile than it is for other fuels. The cost of propane tends to fluctuate wildly.

Call us at 574-223-3156 and ask us how you can get an AC battery, too.

Greg Bitterling
Member Services Manager and
Energy Advisor at Fulton County REMC