Saving on household electric water heating : what works best and by how much?

Nel, P. J. C. ; Booysen, M. J. ; Van der Merwe, B. (2017)

CITATION: Nel, P. J. C., Booysen, M. J. & Van Der Merwe, B. Saving on household electric water heating : what works best and by how much?. In IEEE Innovative Smart Grid Technologies - Asia (ISGT-Asia), 4-7 December 2017, Auckland, New Zealand, doi:10.1109/ISGT-Asia.2017.8378439.

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Conference Paper

Electric heating of water for domestic use is a substantial component of total household energy costs. Thermal energy in a water heater is either used (as warm water) or lost to the environment. Various approaches to reduce the losses and improve the efficiency of these notoriously inefficient and costly water heaters have been proposed and are employed. However, given the complex factors at play, making sense of the savings approaches and choosing the right one for the right use case is not a simple task and often misunderstood. This paper addresses this problem by comparing some of the commonly employed approaches, including schedule control, change in set temperature, use of thermal insulation, and reduction in consumed volume. We also compare the impact of environmental factors, such as changing the ambient temperature around the water heater and the cold inlet temperature. The results show that for the consumption profiles and use cases evaluated, schedule control is the most effective, followed by insulation of the tank and piping. Combined, these two interventions save up to 25%. We also find that the effect of the temperature of the cold inlet water dwarfs that of the ambient temperature, is in line with other approaches, and means the installation status quo needs to be reconsidered.

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