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This project works only with electric water heaters. Turn off the breaker that controls power to the water heater. Remove the timer from the casing (pictured), and remove the knockouts on the casing.
Select a location for mounting the timer near the water heater, and use the casing as a template for marking the mounting holes. Drill pilot holes, and secure the casing to the wall with screws.
Use a circuit tester to verify that the power to the water heater is shut off. Then remove the main power cable from the water heater (pictured) and route it through one of the knockout holes in the casing of the water-heater timer.
Run a new cable (the same gauge as the old one) from the timer casing to the water heater. Strip about 1/2" of insulation from the wires, and connect them to the water heater. Return the timer to the casing (pictured).
Strip 1/2" of insulation from each wire in the casing. Connect the ground wire to the ground plug on the timer. Shape the bare wire ends so that each fits under the appropriate lug. Tighten the screws to secure the wires to the timer (pictured). Set the timer by inserting clips at the appropriate time markers. Turn the power back on.