By Drew Knight
The year is 2015 and everything is getting “smart.” From phones to watches to homes, it seems as if nothing is safe from getting a little wiser, and now water heaters are no exception.
Today, heating water can account for up to 30 percent of your home’s energy budget, according to ConsumerReports.org, so it’s no wonder water heater manufacturers are working to boost their products’ efficiency. In fact, some brands now claim their smart water heaters can cut energy costs up to half as much as regular heaters.
Some top brands of conventional water heaters also offer energy-efficient heaters that are “smarter” than average, while other brands focus on the “smart” versions. Here are some of the top brands and products to look for in your search for a smart water heater.
Whirlpool Energy Smart Electric Water Heaters
The Whirlpool Energy Smart electric water heater combines an electronic thermostat with a consumer-friendly user interface that is simple, convenient, easy to access and informative, Whirlpool says.
Consumers can set their hot water temperature and change the operating mode of the water heater to automatically adjust to their water usage patterns. Additionally, the interface can also provide diagnostic feedback about the unit’s operation.
- Touch screen electronic user interface
- Multiple energy-saving operating modes
- Diagnostic feedback
- Electronic thermostat
- Smart grid ready
- Dry fire protection
- Premium stainless steel heating elements
- 2-inch or 3-inch environmentally friendly non-CFC foam insulation
- 9-year or 12-year warranty
Rheem Tankless Water Heaters
According to Rheem, tankless water heaters combine new technology and functionality in an innovative way to heat water. These products only use energy to heat water when it is needed so that nothing is wasted while you’re not using hot water.
One selling feature on this line of water heaters is a precise digital controller, which allows you to adjust the maximum water temperature to whatever you prefer — great for families with young children!
- Continuous hot water on demand
- Compact, space-saving design
- Indoor and outdoor models
- Environmentally friendly
- Digital display
- Remote controls
- Self-diagnostic program
- Commercial and hydronic usage
- Stainless steel venting
Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters
Rinnai’s tankless technology is designed to provide maximum efficiency to meet ENERGY STAR qualifications. It also uses up to 40 percent less energy than a traditional tank, Rinnai says.
Similar to Rheem’s line, Rinnai’s tankless water heaters operate only when hot water is needed, and use an electronic ignition so that no standing pilot light is constantly sapping energy.
- Designed for energy efficiency
- Improves Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score
- Multiple sizes
- Replaceable parts, not the whole system
- Flexible installation
- Earth-friendly, less waste and low emissions
- Copper heat exchangers
EcoSmart Tankless Water Heaters
EcoSmart touts the “most advanced technology in tankless water heating.” EcoSmart’s heaters take up zero floor space, are lightweight and save up to 50 percent on water-heating costs.
EcoSmart also offers a limited lifetime warranty — the only tankless water heater in the business with such a warranty, according to the company.
- 99.8 percent thermal energy efficiency
- No standby heat loss
- Limited lifetime tankless warranty
- 90 percent smaller than most tank heaters
- Easy installation at point of use
- Can last up to 20 years
Heatworks MODEL 1 Water Heater
A newcomer in the industry, Heatworks’ MODEL 1 water heater is being marketed as the world’s first digital water heater, which can be used to improve your existing water heating system or installed as your main water heater.
The MODEL 1 employs graphite electrodes and electronics that use water’s natural resistance to heat itself, which means no superheated parts, no rusty tanks, no maintenance and no wasted energy, according to Heatworks.
- Remote temperature control access
- Extended hot water usage
- Multiple installation/usage options
- Saves up to 5,500 gallons of water annually
- Can cut energy costs up to 40 percent
- Saves up to $200-plus annually
Drew Knight is a Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.