Rheem,the heating, cooling and water heating solution manufacturer, has introduced EcoNet, a smart technology that will efficiently manage 65 percent of a home’s energy consumption. EcoNet is the first system to connect a home’s heating, cooling, and water heating systems through a central hub, making it easy for homeowners to conveniently manage energy usage and monitor diagnostics and maintenance schedules.
The system uses a home’s existing WiFi connection to locate and link all compatible Rheem air and water products. Homeowners can then securely control these products through the free EcoNet mobile app on smartphones or tablets (both iOS and Android platforms), or a control center mounted in their home.
Heating, air conditioning and water heating systems dominate monthly utility bills and combined account for more than 65 percent of a home’s energy use (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2013 Residential Energy Consumption Survey). When homeowners incur damage in their homes due to a water heater failure, they end up paying more than $4,000 on average per incident (source: Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety). Rheem’s EcoNet system enables homeowners to not only customize and manage home air and water systems based on lifestyle habits, but also see important real-time alerts about maintenance issues.
Homeowners can manage their EcoNet system through a smart thermostat or a mobile app. The EcoNet smart thermostat is a wall-mounted 4.7″ touch screen that has many of the same features of a traditional programmable thermostat – allowing homeowners to regulate temperature, change settings, program schedules _ as well as smart features such as automated service alerts and reminders (i.e., when to change an air filter). The free Rheem EcoNet app gives homeowners the same functionality to set comfort levels and change operating modesÜall from their mobile phone or tablet.
EcoNet goes beyond surface controls and gets deep into the operations of the products. The diagnostic alerts not only tell that service is needed but also pinpoint what is wrong with the unit and what parts are needed to fix it, saving time and money on service calls. One important alert that Rheem provides is a leak detection alert, which lets sends a push notification to a homeowner’s phone when water is detected in the vicinity of the water heater.
“Homeowners are accustomed to programming their air conditioning and heating units, and should be just as vigilant with their water heater _ especially with their vacation homes or rental properties,” said Bill Alderson, corporate director, marketing, Rheem. “A water heater can account for almost 20 percent a home’s energy consumption so programming the temperature and keeping it properly maintained can amount to significant savings each year. Not to mention, learning about an important service issue, like any kind of leak being detected, could save homeowners both dollars and headache.”
The EcoNet system is compatible with the Wink smart home platform. Wink is one of the largest home automation platforms providing a simple, intuitive, and people-friendly way to control hundreds of connected devices through one single app.
“We’re excited to expand our partnership with Rheem,” said Brett Worthington, general manager and vice president of Wink. “Their move into the connected home is no surprise given their long history in producing innovative, cutting edge products, and EcoNet system will help further Wink’s goal of making people’s lives easier through connected devices.”
Currently, Rheem 96% AFUE variable speed gas furnaces, hybrid electric heat pump water heaters, and Performance Platinum gas and electric water heaters from The Home Depot are EcoNet compatible. Performance Platinum water heaters sold at The Home Depot prior to July 2014 can be retrofitted to work with EcoNet, through the purchase of a $99 module. In addition, when paired with the Rheem Comfort Control2 System (CC2S) translator, EcoNet is backwards compatible with current communicating air conditioning equipment.
The EcoNet smart thermostat is sold through Rheem independent contractors and through The Home Depot’s HVAC Installation Services program. Rheem will roll out new air conditioners, air handlers water heaters and modulating furnaces throughout 2015, and 13 of these new products will be EcoNet-enabled.
“This is just the beginning for EcoNet _ it’s a future-friendly technology,” said Alderson. “Our open API allows us to partner with many different home automation systems so we are unfettered by interface issues that have plagued existing home automation products. We see tremendous opportunity to forge partnerships with like-minded products and become part of a total smart-home resource.”