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3 Things to Know About Smart Water Heaters

To a large extent, the basic building blocks of a home plumbing system have remained largely unchanged with the passing decades. Yet advances in technology have allowed for much innovation when it comes to plumbing appliances. Many of these advances promote greater efficiency, and hence lower energy and water bills. 

One of the most exciting new developments comes in the form of smart water heaters. Unfortunately, many homeowners still fail to understand this relatively recent development. Keep reading to learn three key things to know about how smart water heaters work, and what they can do for you.

1. You Don’t Need to Buy a New Water Heater

The term smart water heater proves confusing for many people, who naturally assume that this technology requires investing in an entirely new water heater. On the contrary, smart water heater technology can integrate with virtually any gas or electric water heater. In other words, this technology works to retrofit your existing water heater.

The devices currently on the market have an asking price between $99 and $150, which makes them far less expensive than a new water heater. Of course, you’ll probably want to hire a professional to install the smart device. In addition to mount the controller unit to the water heater, a plumber must also install hot and cold temperature sensors to the tank’s valves and inlet pipes.

As with much smart technology, a smart water heater improves performance by capturing detailed data about how and when your water heater works. This information allows the controller to make changes to your water heater’s activity. In addition, the smart device allows you to monitor your water heater’s performance via computer and smart phone apps.

2. Smart Water Heaters Reduce Standby Loss

Water heaters require considerable amounts of energy in order to bring large volumes of water up to temperature, making up for as much as 18 percent of a home’s overall energy use. The most wasteful aspect of a water heater’s operation has to do with standby loss. Standby loss occurs when your water heater goes for longer periods of time without being used.

During such times — for instance, in the overnight hours — the water in the tank gradually cools. As a result, the heating element must periodically turn back on to reheat the water. This needless use of energy contributes to high levels of inefficiency. In fact, most water heaters waste between 20 and 50 percent of the energy they consume.

Smart water heater systems allow you to greatly reduce the amount of standby loss. By analyzing your water heater’s usage patterns, a smart controller can identify times when the heater does not need to run as actively — for instance, in the middle of the workday, and late at night. The smart controller can make such changes independently.

Likewise, you can use the app to program the water heater’s schedule yourself. This feature allows you to power down your water heater while away on vacation, even if you forget to make the change before leaving home.

3. Smart Water Heaters Avoid Price Spikes

For those with electric water heaters, upgrading to a smart system makes even more sense. Because a smart system connects to your home’s internet connection, it can monitor more than just the temperature of your tank’s water. A smart controller can also monitor the daily fluctuations that take place in the price of electricity.

Based on this information, a smart water heater can shut itself down during particularly sharp price spikes. This strategy, known as both peak-shaving and load-shifting, can result in savings as great as $216 each year.

Smart technology makes a natural and effective partner with your home’s hot water heater. For more information about making this simple upgrade to your plumbing system, please contact Sacramento’s pros at JR Putman.

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