In addition to its energy-savings features, the Aquanta can also alert you to water leaks. A leaking water heater can do tremendous damage because your water heater is usually out of sight, and a leak can go undetected for days or weeks. Sunnovations' product roadmap includes the development of a networked valve that can shut off the water supply to the heater in the event of a leak.
The Aquanta can also remind you to periodically flush your tank (you can extend the life of your water heater by eliminating built-up sediment this way), and test your T&P valve (a non-functioning valve can't relieve dangerous pressure buildup).
Carlson says the Aquanta is designed to be self-installed by anyone with enough experience and confidence to install a new water faucet. The device is compatible with electric water heaters and gas models that have electronic gas-control valves. It will also report energy consumption and other information when used with older gas water heaters with mechanical controls, but it won't be able to control the heating element on those models.
The Aquanta smart water-heater controller sounds like a fabulous idea, but the proof will be in the pudding. Carlson says Sunnovations expects to deliver the device in July 2015 at a retail price of $149, but early backers will get substantial discounts (as much as 50 percent). Customers willing to pay to be beta testers can expect to receive hardware as early as next February, and will be able to provide input on the installation process and suggest new features. They'll also get a production unit in July, but this requires a pledge of $750 or more.
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