Now here’s a fun and useful home improvement update: The Internet of Things now includes residential water heating. All water heating systems have the ability to monitor and set water temperature; what’s new for “smart” systems is the ability to make further use of the data surrounding how your home uses hot water, and to be able to access that data and make changes to your water preferences on your mobile devices at a moment’s notice.
Specifically, not only does today’s tankless water heater provide endless hot water, lower energy bills, more useable space, and sustainability, but it will also connect to your home wi-fi, your smart devices, even your Alexa so you can monitor and control your water heating wherever you are and whatever you need.
Smart Tankless Systems
Just as we’re getting used to controlling our home security, lighting and appliances through home-wide automation, now you can add your tankless water heater to that list. “Smart” systems allow you to turn the unit on and off, set the water temperature, get notifications of problems, and more. This is important particularly for some North Texas homes where the tankless unit is installed in the attic – no more running to the far reaches of the house to change the water temperature, turn on a vacation setting, or check for any problems.
The recognized leader in “smart” tankless heaters is the Rinnai Control-R wireless module, which will connect to any gas-powered Rinnai tankless water heater manufactured within the past 10 years. Specifically, here’s what the Control-R can do:
The Control-R’s app allows homeowners to control their tankless water heater from a smart phone or tablet, which makes it quicker, easier and more convenient to adjust the hot water temperature. The app offers an in-depth overview of your unit’s statistics such as the current water flow, inlet and outlet water temperatures, how long the system has been working, etc. You can also use the app to complete product registration.
If you have a recirculating tankless water heater, the app will allow you to turn on the heating system with a quick click. This means the water is instantly hot when you need it – no more waiting for the hot water to get to the tap. Further, the app allows you to ask any Amazon Alexa or Google Home unit to start the recirculation process. And this is the only brand that works with Alexa.
Don’t Think About It
Does your home tend to use most of its hot water at certain times of day? The app allows you to program your tankless heater’s heating recirculation cycles, so hot water is always ready. Going out of town for a few days? The app can act upon your return in a variety of ways:
- It will sync with motion sensors and activate when someone comes home.
- In coordination with other home automation devices, the app can also be geofenced so that when a resident’s mobile device comes within a certain distance of home, the heater turns on.
As is a big benefit through the Internet of Things, the Control-R app can notify you of any potential issues with your unit through maintenance alerts and diagnostic information. Even more helpfully, you can connect your app to your choice of licensed local Rinnai dealers; that dealer will then receive the same alerts within their dealer’s version of the app. They receive relevant, detailed statistical data from your unit and can then monitor its performance, diagnose and troubleshoot any errors, and provide faster, more efficient service when needed.
While we’re singing the praises of “smart” tankless water heaters, let’s also note another recent improvement: Your tankless water heater now has a potential output of 9.5 gallons a minute. That’s enough to run hot water in two bathrooms and the kitchen (even the dishwasher!) or the laundry room simultaneously – easily enough to support a large family’s hot water needs at all times of day.
Additional Smart Options
While tankless models are the gold standard of water heating, not everyone is ready to make that investment. In general, “smart” tanked water heaters monitor and adjust their own energy levels, based on your home’s actual hot-water usage and on their coordination with other sensor-based devices in your home like smart thermostats or motion detectors. Many models can also alert you to potential maintenance issues before any leaks occur.
Specifically, the most highly recommended “smart” tanked water heating options include the following:
- The Rheem Performance Platinum Hybrid Smart Electric Water Heater comes with a sleek touch screen on the tank as well as an app that gives you complete control over its operations wherever you are via your smart device. The app lets you set your hot-water temperature and will send you text or email alerts for any maintenance issues. It also provides you safety and maintenance tips that help keep your water heating system in optimum shape.
- But perhaps you’ve recently replaced your tanked water heater. You have “smart” options as well! A networked water heater controller can be connected to your current water heater in order to make it more energy efficient. This controller will track your household’s hot-water use over time and will help you plan and implement a water heating schedule that can be manually or automatically activated. The controller will also display the amount of current hot water in the tank and send you alerts for any maintenance issues. Some models also pair with the Nest line of home automation thermostats and will turn off your water heater in response to activation of the “away” mode.
Take Control of Your Water Heating
According to the Department of Energy, the water heater accounts for nearly 17 percent of any home’s energy use; it uses more energy than all your other household appliances combined. So why wouldn’t you want to do whatever you can to make your water heating system work as efficiently as possible? And today’s smart systems are a big step forward in utility savings and more efficient water usage.
At Horizon Plumbing Services, our decades of experience make us the tankless water heater installers in Dallas/Fort Worth. We’re also a certified Rinnai dealer with recognized expertise around these systems. Whether your water heater is electric or gas, in need of repair, or you’re considering installing a tankless water heater, get a free quote.