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"Smart" Water Heaters What Do They Do Different?

Whirlpool and a few others have electric water heaters with a "Smart" control unit on them which presumably saves energy by looking at how hot water is used and regulating the on time of the heater. Does this work any differently than simply putting an external timer on a water heater. I realize adding a simple timer may not be much of a benefit unless the utility has off-peak rates. Wondering if an existing electric water heater could be fitted with an aftermarket "Smart" control or is there more to the way it operates?
I haven't seen too much good said about reliability of the Whirlpool models with this feature.

Re: "Smart" Water Heaters What Do They Do Different?

Don't know much about those units.

Technology is a wonderful thing --- however --- with that comes the complexity and more components that can create issues on their own ----- adding to the cost of the equipment and subsequent repairs.

Simplicity many times is a wiser move. One rule that stuck with me from college was the K.I.S.S principal ( Keep It Simple Stupid ).

If the water heater is idle when no one is home to use hot water but is still trying to maintain the temperature ( through losses ) then it's a waste of energy.

With an electric water heater by ensuring the tank is well insulated and having a timer to diconnect the power during the day when no one is home would save energy. Having the timer connect the power shortly before you get home makes more sense.

2 cents worth.:)

Re: "Smart" Water Heaters What Do They Do Different?

In installed a $50 electromechanical timer on my "regular 12-year warranty" GE Electric 50 gallon hot water heater. This water heater is bigger than our old 30 gallon unit, insulated better, and now is only on about 4 hours a day. We have plenty of water and we have saved about $20 a month on electric (and we have very good rates here). The timers can be installed by a homeowner who feels competent doing things like changing an outlet, circuit breaker, etc. or an electrician could do it at modest cost. You can have as many on-off times per day as you like, but it comes with tabs to set 3 periods per day. It's called the "Little Grey Box" timer. I think I got it at HD or Lowes.


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