Home automation's next big opportunity: Controlling the water heater

Rheem, one of the leading manufacturers of water heaters in the U.S., has just launched a Wi-Fi module for electric and gas water heaters that lets you monitor the performance of the device, control its energy usage and be warned about leaks or other potentially costly malfunctions. Part of its new EcoNet Home Comfort technology that will control all Rheem HVAC and water heating devices, the Wi-Fi Module for Water Heaters is a good example of the unification of green technology and home automation industries.

But, the control possible using Rheem's free EcoNet app is the best example to date of the intersection of energy savings with home automation. Responsible for up to 18% of a home's energy use, a water heater just sits there 24/7, heating and reheating water to a set temperature. With the Wi-Fi water module attached, it can now be programmed from your smartphone.
Using the Rheem app to set schedules based on your lifestyle and usage needs -- and being able to quickly change things on the fly -- the module makes it possible to save energy without inconveniencing you. So if you have it programmed to cool down during the day while you’re at work, but then unexpected get the day off, you can override your normal schedule in a snap. Heading out of town? Remotely set the water heater to vacation mode, preventing it from heating and reheating water that's not going to be used.


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