Kickstarter Campaign Launches Unique Energy Saving Water Heater

February 11, 2014

A thousand small, unglamorous innovations in devices as humble as this, are what continue to make electricity demand flat or declining in the US.

The Kickstarter page describes it as follows:

Electricity passes through a heating coil which is heated to over 1000 °F (538 °C) which then heats the water. This process means that a tremendous strain is placed on the coil which frequently burns out or breaks in as little as 12 months. Most units also contain a flow switch, which is inherently unreliable technology. The flow switch creates a “flutter” of alternating hot and cold water at low flow rates, which is frustrating and uncomfortable, but also unsafe due to excessive heating of water which can cause scalding. HEATWORKS MODEL 1’s graphite electrodes use the resistance of the water to heat it, and so they never get hotter than the surrounding water. This ensures a long life while heating the water reliably and consistently, even at low flow rates. Plus, the MODEL 1’s technology heats the water instantly where any other electric tankless unit take a minimum of 30 seconds to heat the water, which wastes the water that goes down the drain until the hot water arrives.

Not having a flow switch also saves water because the MODEL 1 produces hot water at 0.1 GPM (.4 Liter/min), while competitive units require at least 0.5 GPM (1.9 LPM) just to turn on. ASHRAE data shows that half of hot water draws in a house are 0.5 GPM (1.9 LPM) or less, so that every other product out there requires a higher water flow just to turn on, which also wastes water.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. They can be 8%–14% more energy efficient for homes that use a lot of hot water—around 86 gallons per day. Even greater energy savings of 27%–50% can be achieved with the installation of a demand water heater at each hot water outlet.

4 Responses to “Kickstarter Campaign Launches Unique Energy Saving Water Heater”

  1. First, there’s no isolation transformer in that thing.  This means the stream of water itself will be electrically “live” to some degree.  If the ground connection fails open, that could ruin your whole day.

    Second, minerals do electro-deposit out of solution.  That’s how a certain type of concrete substitute is made out of seawater.  Maybe the AC current prevents this, but I’d want to see the results of tests.

    Third, this thing is just a resistance heater.  A heat-pump water heater will produce several times as much hot water per kWh of input, and solar hot water will produce it for whatever it takes to run pumps.  Maybe using point-of-use heaters as boosters is workable, but circulating pumps can accomplish the same job of having hot water at the tap right away.

    All in all, don’t trust salesmen to give you all the facts.

  2. […] A thousand small, unglamorous innovations in devices as humble as this, are what continue to make electricity demand flat or declining in the US. The Kickstarter page describes it as follows: Elect…  […]

  3. Greg Wellman Says:

    I can see this as a point-of-use booster, particularly where a circulating pump would be either an expensive retrofit or waste a lot of heat acting as a radiator. That’s my house. Air source heat pump for heat, gas hot water heater. We probably use less than 30 gallons hot water a day, but to get hot to the upstairs bathrooms requires running the tap for quite a while. For small uses like shaving, a point-of-use booster would save both water and energy, even if it’s purely resistive heat.

    I’d want to know about the grounding issue. Might not be one if the pipes are metal and grounded themselves. It’s probably fine with appropriate safeties – e.g. if the neutral electrode breaks, the unit has to completely shut down. But I’d want to know for certain.

    • There’d be no way you’d want this thing on anything other than a GFI circuit, but if the water carried enough minerals you might get enough leakage current back to ground through the water and the metallic plumbing to trip the GFI.

      This scheme does work for cooking hot dogs (“Watt dogs”).  You can safely isolate a hot dog, because you’re not trying to eat one end while cooking the other.

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