Aquanta water heater controller review: A smart solution for your home’s biggest energy waster

    Aquanta first came to our attention manner again in 2014 with a quite simple however very intelligent concept: a tool that controls your water heater so it produces scorching water solely whenever you want it, as an alternative of preserving 40 or 50 gallons of water scorching 24/7. Since then, Aquanta has principally labored with public utilities to get its product into houses. The firm is now promoting its controller direct to shoppers, and after spending some high quality time with a assessment unit, I believe it’s a robust worth.

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating water accounts for about 18 percent of a home’s energy consumption. That makes it the second-largest contributor to your energy-related utility invoice (after heating and cooling), at a price to the common household of $400 to $600 yearly. You can consider a standard tank water heater as an enormous thermos. It heats up 40 or 50 gallons of water and strives to maintain all that water scorching in order that it’s out there any time you want it. But should you’re like most individuals, you in all probability want plenty of scorching water just a few occasions a day: within the morning for a bathe, within the night to scrub dishes, and perhaps simply a few occasions every week to run your dishwasher and wash your garments.

    One answer can be to interchange your standard tank water heater with a tankless mannequin that heats water on demand. The Energy Department estimates that these home equipment are two to three times more efficient than a tank water heater. But not solely are they costly, you’ll in all probability want each an expert electrician and an expert plumber to put in one. What’s extra, the company says you may not recoup the acquisition and set up price by way of decrease utility payments earlier than the unit wears out and must be changed.

    Michael Brown / IDG

    The Aquanta Smart Water Heater Controller put in on a 40-gallon propane water heater.

    Four management choices

    An Aquanta controller prices $149 and you may set up it your self in about 20 minutes. There are fashions for each electrical and natural-gas/propane water heaters, however there isn’t a plumbing concerned. The gadget presents 4 methods of controlling your water heater, balancing your need for warm water with saving power. Aquanta Intelligence, the default selection, depends on an algorithm that analyzes your scorching water consumption and robotically turns the water heater on and off accordingly. You can select from three fashions right here: Less Efficient, Efficient, and Most Efficient.

    The second possibility is finest for individuals who comply with a strictly regimented schedule: You can set timers that can flip the water heater on and off at specified occasions. This possibility is just like the pre-Nest-era programable HVAC thermostats in that it permits you to create one schedule for each day of the week; one schedule for weekdays and one other for weekends; or one schedule for weekdays, a second for Saturdays, and a 3rd for Sundays).

    aquanta com cable in controller Michael Brown / IDG

    The Aquanta management cable plugged into the COM port on a Honeywell digital water heater ignition controller.

    The third possibility is for electrical water heater homeowners whose utility presents a “time of day” fee that makes electrical energy dearer throughout occasions of peak demand and cheaper throughout off-peak hours. Just choose your particular utility from a drop-down menu. This will fireplace up your water heater solely when power prices are decrease.

    Finally, a thermostat management possibility retains your water at an outlined temperature. This is clearly the least environment friendly methodology, and it may well’t elevate the temperature past the tank’s mechanical set level anyway, however should you’re tremendous choosy about water temperature, the choice is there.

    aquanta app scheduling Michael Brown / IDG

    If you have got a tightly regimented schedule, you’ll be able to program your water heater to function solely at particular occasions and days of the week.

    If you need to save much more power, and you may bear in mind to do it, you’ll be able to faucet an Away button within the app to inform the controller to show the water heater off since you received’t be residence to wish scorching water. You can select both a Now setting or specify a future time that you simply’ll be gone, after which point out the time the Away interval ought to finish and water heating ought to resume.

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