Several years ago, people hardly paid attention to their air conditioners until they stopped working. And then came NEST, the thermostat technology that got people talking about indoor climate control. Now, people will probably talk about everything and the kitchen sink and water heater, because ICT has also found its way to them.
Rheem, which is among the top American water heater brands, has already released a Wi-Fi module for gas and electric water heaters. The module allows you to remotely monitor water heaters, control their energy use, and be notified about malfunctions or other possibly pricey problems. The module will control all Rheem water heaters and HVAC devices, and is heralded as a great illustration of how home automation and green technology can come together.
Water heaters used to be overlooked by green technology, because those wanting to save on energy usually turn to tankless water heaters (like those at Anything Water). However, tankless water heaters have limitations when used in big homes. For example, most brands and models often struggle to supply hot water to a dishwasher and two showers at the same time.
Traditional tank water heaters can more easily handle such load, but they are a major power hog. They can account for as much as 18% of a household’s energy consumption, because they run 24/7 even when they don’t have to. But with the Wi-Fi module installed, they can now be remotely controlled via Rheem’s free EcoNet app for smartphones. Using the app, you can program schedules according to your usage and lifestyle, while also being able to make changes on the fly. For example, you can set it on vacation mode and then have it running just a little before your return.
We may not had the joy of having fine control over a water heater before, but now we want to have it from all our appliances. And as more people become energy savers and technology savvy, the future home will be a connected one with the help of ICT.