Smart Water Heater from Whirlpool?


(Engelwood) #1

In the market for a new water heater. Considering these cost $500 to $700 a year to operate, I’m looking into smartening up my purchase to save a bit of money.

It appears there are a few options on the market at the moment from Rheem and whirlpool. Wondering if anybody has had any experience with this Whirlpool 50-Gallon 12-Year Regular Electric Water Heater (Works with Iris) from Lowes?

This heater claims to be compatible with Iris (Lowes home automation system), but looking over the manual, I’m only seeing a single page about installing a smartgrid module. I’m wondering if this module also allows for home automation control?

The whirlpool site claims this water heater has 6th sense technology which uses the My Smart Appliances app, but the Smart Appliances page doesn’t mention a thing about the water heater. (Interesting side note, I did find this API page which I’m not sure is meant to be public?)

Stumbled across yet ANOTHER document about the 6th sense technology and it appears it uses WiFi for communication.

So. If you’re still with me, does anybody have experience with one of these?


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #2

I don’t. I just put a ZWave switch on my dumb water heater.


(Mike) #3

Watching this thread…I need a new hot water heater soon so if this works with ST I’ll probably make the leap.


(Edward Pope) #4

Watching the thread as well, I do not need a water heater, but I think how this is solved best will have merit for future endeavors.


(Chrisb) #5

What rules do you use to manage it? Do you turn it off when in away mode?


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #6

@chrisb It runs for an hour very early in the morning. This pretty much supplies enough hot water for the day. There’s also touch evt on the app that fires it up for an hour in case someone wants to take a bath in the evening.

Everything is off when away… With the exception of some variations of led lighting at night.

I am not sure how much more effective a smart water heater would be. It would be nice to have temp measurement and adjustment.

With thermostatic valves in the showers, a dishwasher that heats it’s own water, and rarely doing laundry in hot water, only warm water is needed most of the time. If they were smart enough to keep it X degrees between times A and B, and X+20 degrees between times C and D, that would squeeze out more efficiency. Of course it would need to learn rate of rise like hvac stats do to know when to come on to have the water at X degrees at 10pm. I would be surprised if they are that smart.


(Edward Pope) #7

I actually have one of the GEOSprings Hot Water heaters. It did pretty well, and I understand that newer ones that are about to hit the market do some of what you were discussing. You can set the temp, and set times for it to bring the water up to desired temp. Using the older model, I saved about 30 dollars a month in water heating. We used a lot of hot water I admit (SMILE)


(Beckwith) #8

Do you use this:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.geappliances.brillion.wifi.waterheater&hl=en


(Engelwood) #9

An update: It turns out the Whirlpool water heaters need an additional module to enable wifi control. Trouble is the module hasn’t been released yet and I can’t seem to find an ETA. :frowning:

However… This Rheem water heater offers very similar features and has a wifi module in stock that supposedly works with the wink hub.

I found an article talking about the rheem heater and it mentioned an open API, so that’s promising.

Still, $628 ($528 for the heater and $100 for the module) is a good deal more expensive than a regular water heater and a Intermatic CA3750 (~$350 for a water heater and $80 for the intermatic).

@scottinpollock, if you don’t mind me asking, could you give an estimate about how much you save monthly in energy costs by heating hot water selectively?


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #10

I can’t. I replaced a propane heater with an electric and the timer was installed from day one.


(Edward Pope) #11

Nope mine is not enabled that way yet. But now you have me curious to see if I can use this with my unit.


(Peter) #12

Is there any danger of keeping the water at lukewarm water and legionnaire’s disease?


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #13

My setup doesn’t keep the water lukewarm; the thermostats have never been touched. It simply brings it up to temp once a day.

Depending on your usage, you may need to do this more frequently.


(Matthew Bial) #14

So my old gas hot water heater began leaking last Thursday. I have ordered one of the Rheem models mentioned above. Once I have everything up-and-running I’ll share my experience, but truly can’t imagine needing to change the water heater settings with the exception of vacation mode. Can anyone recommend some other scenarios where changing the water heater settings would be beneficial? (ie, turn down heat between 1am and 5am, etc). Thanks for your ideas and comments!


(David Bachman) #15

I have been tracking this product for over a year now. The Whirlpool smart control to work with IRIS was announced at CES back then, but has not been released. I have inquired and have been told it is in process but not yet released.

In my case I needed a new water heater and bought the whirlpool model with the idea that would be able to add wifii in the future. This was before the Rheem unit has come out; Rheem, Wink, and Home Depot have all put together agreements and come out with products between the time of the Lowes/Whirlpool announcement and any actual product availability.

I already have IRIS for other tasks, and am happy with it, so really would prefer to add water heater to that rather than through a completely different app. Lots of things happening in this space between google and apple now, and at the end of the day some of these players are going to go the way of betamax videotapes.

With respect to the posts of WHY would you need this in the first place, in my case it is for a vacation house, and this way I could turn on the hot water 2-3 hrs before arrival, as well as monitor temp when not there. I agree that for regularly occupied home, there is less of a compelling case, since the scheduling is based on daily trends which stay more or less consistent. My Whirlpool water heater in fact already has their 6th sense, which basically tracks usage and adapts to that, so I really don’t need wifi for that.


(Matthew Bial) #16

So I ultimately chose to go with this Rheem model from Home Depot. I did purchase the Wifi module, but have not yet attempted to integrate it with SmartThings. Rheem’s open API should make this reasonably easy. That said, there are a number of use cases worth considering:

  1. Vacation - automatically disable the heater
  2. Schedule - disable the water heater between x and y times on defined days of the week
  3. If one family member likes the water VERY hot, but they’re not home - reduce temp by x degrees
  4. If children are home - reduce temp to maximum of x degrees (as suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics)
  5. It has a built-in water leak detector - could send push alert via ST and turn off any nearby electronics automatically

I’m sure there are some other scenarios that make sense. That said, I agree that it’s truly not a huge advantage to have an appliance like this connected to SmartThings, but it sure is cool and still opens up a number of possibilities moving forward.


(Mike) #17

@mbial I’m looking at the same model. How has it been so far?


(Matthew Bial) #18

It’s installed, but I honestly haven’t looked at integration. The Rheem app itself is barebones, but sufficient. I’ll work on the integration with ST once a few other devices around the house are complete (Ring video doorbell and Intermatic pool equipment). I’ll be sure to keep you posted in this space.


(David Bachman) #19

As an update to this thread, the smart controller is now available from Lowes which works with the Whirlpool Energy Smart Water Heaters. They are not available yet in most stores, but you can order online from Lowes. Interestingly these are not made by Whirlpool, but by American Water Heater Co. It fits on the top of the water heater and attaches to a connector that is there for “grid enabled” features. Note this will only work with certain Wirlpool heaters that have this smart LCD control built into it I have not hooked mine up yet, but one significant thing is that to enable scheduling would require upgrading from the free IRIS service to the $9.95/mo service. I got this for a vacation house, so really a remote on/off was my primary motivation. Not certain I can justify the additional $9.95/mo
Overall though a step in the right direction. Water Heating is the #2 energy consumer in a house after space heating, and does not get nearly the attention that space heating or lighting gets.


(Marc) #20

I got my Rheem installed yesterday and looking forward to possible integration with ST. The Rheem app is pathetic as it doesn’t measure what the current water temp is and is very buggy.