Three Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Utility Bills with a Smart Water Heater
April 12, 2021
Why would anyone need a smart water heater? Why would I want anything else to have to control? If either of these questions arise when you hear the words “smart water heater,” you are not alone. However, with a smart water heater, there are three easy ways to save money during the lifetime of a water heater.
Before we get into the three ways to save money with a smart electric water heater, let’s think about another common utility bill cost which are lights. You could leave the lights on in your house all the time but that would be wasting money. Therefore, many of us are in the habit of manually turning off lights in specific rooms during the day and evening when we are either not in the room(s) or don’t need the lights on because it’s daylight outside. Sometimes we use smart devices to schedule when to turn lights on or off, both when we are in the house or away. For example, we always turn off most of our lights when we are away for long periods of time, such as on vacation. Turning off lights helps save on utility costs.
Similarly, to the light bulb example above, we can also save on utility costs when using a smart water heater by simply reducing the temperature (usage) on-demand, when you are for example on vacation, and/or scheduling a decrease in temperature of the water heater for short-periods of time.
Now, let’s talk about the three simple ways to save money during the lifetime of a smart water heater.
Schedule Usage During Peak and Off-Peak Hours
To start off, we’ve all been surprised with a high electricity bill with a “peak hours” charge. So, what is a peak hours charge? Electricity prices can vary, especially during the hottest and coldest days of the year, when there will be more electricity used at the same time across most households within the same vicinity. When there is a high demand for electricity but limited supply, electricity prices peak during high demand hours and lower during off-peak hours. Peak hours vary by rate and utility provider but are generally between midafternoon to evening hours. Depending on your utility provider and location, peak hours can also be during morning hours too. Using a smart electric water heater with a scheduling feature is one way that you can reduce the temperature of a water heater during peak hours to save you money. As a note, with a smart water heater, you can also manually adjust the temperature from the water heater or mobile device anytime if you are interested in savings beyond specific scheduling.
Participate in a Utility Demand Response Program
With homeowner permission, demand response ready water heaters allow the utility company to access or control the water heater during peak usage times. During peak usage, think of it as automatic scheduling where the utility company is reducing the electricity usage from the water heater by decreasing the water heater set point (temperature), changing the mode of operation or disabling (turning off) the water heater. Depending on the utility program, the advantage to the homeowner is reduced costs through incentive pricing and/or rebates. You can check with your local utility company if they offer a demand response program as pilot programs are popping up rapidly throughout the country.
Whether the scheduling is driven by the homeowner or utility company, you might think that saving money is great but at the same time you don’t want to risk having to take a cold shower during these periods when the water heater temperatures are lowered. We still want to take an occasional shower or use hot water for various tasks throughout the day. Rest assured that these scheduling tips to save money and energy will have minimal to no effect on your hot water availability. You will still have enough hot water in the water heater storage tank for most routine needs, so that you aren’t sacrificing comfort for cost savings. A scheduling feature allows you to have both comfort and cost savings.
Utilize Away/Vacation Mode
Lastly, whether it’s a gas, electric or hybrid water heater, many smart water heaters offer an away/vacation mode. Why continuously heat your hot water when you are away from your home for a day or longer when away for an extended time? Previous generations of water heaters made it hard to control temperature of the water heater when you were away/on vacation but the newest generation of water heaters makes it so easy. In some cases, all you have to do is press an “away/on vacation” mode button on a water heater smart control app and start experiencing savings while you are away relaxing on vacation.
Conclusion and More Information
Traditionally, besides recommended maintenance, we have thought of a water heater as “set it and forget” equipment. With the next generation of water heaters, smart water heaters can easily save energy and costs without compromising comfort. With a few presses of the button from a water heater or mobile device, one can experience additional savings previously not as easily possible. For more information on Rheem’s smart and innovative technologies, click here.
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