Smart hot water heater control

Water heaters account for roughly 15-20% of your energy consumption. A device designed allowing users to remotely control the temperature of their water heater would be of great benefit.

Hi @matt.neidigh and welcome to the Community Forum! :slightly_smiling_face:
Don’t forget to vote for your idea. Check this out. . .

Rheem® Smart Electric Water Heater. (The New Smart Electric Water Heater from Rheem with Built-in Smart Features - Rheem Water Heaters - Rheem Manufacturing Company)

1 Like

I actually have Heater control of my Rheem Hot Water heater. You can get a Wifi module to plug into it. Then use an App to control it. So you can adjust the temp. you can put it into Vacation Mode. It will let you know if there is an issue. There is also a sensor you put on the bottom of the pan so that if it gets wet, because your heater sprung a leak it will let you know.

My Heater here in CA is a special version. First it Plugs into the wall even though it runs on GAS. So there is no pilot light to deal with that is always running. It lights off on it owns when it needs to. The electric gas valve gets it power that way, and the Wifi device you can buy plugs into that. You stick it to the side of the water heater with double sided tape. it’s on there good. There is some blue lights on the front. I use an app on my iPhone called Econet.

Oh and my heater has a lot more insulation in it. Same amount of gallons as my old one but a lot larger in diameter. It also has a damper door on the top vent. That also uses power for the motor that opens and closes it. When it’s heating the water, it opens, when it’s hot and no need to heat, it closes to help keep the heat on. I have to say, with all the Insulation. I can’t feel any heat from it on the outside and it’s very quite when it’s running.

I’ve had it for a number of years now. My time using that app has been very little!!! In fact it was using another app when I first got it and they changed on me a few years ago to EcoNet. I guess it’s now branded as EcoNet.

The first time I had an issue it didn’t let me know at all. I had no heat. Well I did, but not hot, just warm water. Turned out that the outlet it was plugged into. A ground fault outlet with the test/reset button on it as it is above the garage sink which the heater was plugged into popped. No more electrical power so the heater wasn’t running. No power, the Wifi device wasn’t on and so it couldn’t inform me.

In general though, there is really no need to be going around adjusting your heater temp up and down. If I’m going to be gone for the week and no one is home, Ok I can put it into vacation mode. In fact I can turn off vacation mode while away from home on my way back so that I have hot water by the time I get home.

I’m I really saving much money for that week? With no water being used and how energy efficient it is, keeping the water hot wouldn’t require much heating when it’s not being used for a week. Having to heat all that water back up, to temp, would that require more gas? Is it break even? I don’t now. If it’s a real vacation home and you’re not there for 6 months of the year, sure, put it in that mode. That would of course make sense.

I think if you want to save on energy costs, the better option is to turn the heat down a little. Of course that might mean you need to use more hot water as you no longer have the need to turn on the cold water as high to lower the temp of the water. There’s no real good answers.

Of course this EcoNet option would require a new Rheem Hot water tank which supports it. Kind of silly if you don’t need a new tank. Overall, I’ve used it so little, was it really worth it? I don’t think so. I’m a growing Smart Home, and really the bottom of my list of all the things I have that are smart, this on the bottom of almost who cares!!!

What I think would make a bigger difference in energy savings really is in heating and cooling your home. In this case I have an Ecobee 4. You get all these data to see how you are doing and comparing to those around you with similar energy costs and home sizes. You can do all kinds of things. I’m more limited as my Dad lives at my house and is home all day. He wants more heat and more AC than I would normally be set to. Plus I can’t turn it off when I’m away because he is home most of the time being Retired. That is the one bill he pays, the Electric/Gas bill. He is using most of it after all. I’ve had my Ecobee for a few years now. So if you’ve done nothing in that direction, maybe Wyze controller for that may be the better option then turning your water heat temp up and down. Turn it down a little and leave it there and see if that works for you. My app has my hot water temp set at 118 degrees F.

Quote “The average shower temperature in the US is 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Each individual has their preferences on shower temperature, and women generally like theirs to be hotter. But the average hot water heater can heat up to 140 degrees. That is hot enough to burn your skin within 5 seconds!”

The colder water absorbs heat at a faster rate, probably Negligible difference. The belief is the WH will come on after heat is lost through the insulation.

Set my heater on ‘pilot’ when on vacation for 10 days. Really wanted a shower when returned and the water was still warm enough (not hot) for a shower.

The regular pilot light (which generates power for the gas valve) uses less in energy cost then powering the WiFi and electric damper. :slightly_smiling_face:

We currently use Aquanta to achieve this. The finally came out with an app as well which made things much easier. The boost function is great when you’ve had it off for something like vacation and you want to make sure you have hot water for a shower or bath, or anything upon coming home and you’re a little while out.

If Wyze were to come out with something similar we would definitely consider making the switch as long as the features were comparable.

I have ECOTOUCH ECO55 and I am very satisfied with this The unit has well-modulated temperature control and the remote worked well for me. Works perfectly for my needs.

[Mod Edit]: Amazon referral link replaced.

Tankless is great (I use a small wattage one for my shower), but the electrical demands might require a substantial investment for some people (e.g., new wiring, perhaps even a new breaker box) for whole-house models.

That unit you use is a rather modest 5.5 KW unit that pulls only 23 amps on a 240V line. While most homes would be wired for 240V for the water heater (mine wasn’t, but I had a 240V line I didn’t use for a dryer close by), that would typically be set up to supply a 4000-4500 watt tank style heater. The line and breaker might even handle up to a 6KW unit, but that isn’t considered “whole house” (and might not even satisfy some people for single point usage in colder climates).

Some homes, especially older ones, may not be wired to provide a lot of current. (My home has a rather modest 60A setup, but 100A would not be that uncommon for older homes).

The tl;dr version is electric tankless might not be a viable option for some people (despite how great tankless is if you can install one).

It’s not just the power. If you get a GAS one, which in general is cheaper to run, you may need a larger gas line than what is currently going to your normal tank heater.

Back when I had gas, the lines that supplied my central furnace and my stove were the same size, and more to the point, they were the same size as the central supply line coming from the meter.