An intelligent water heater with wi-fi access to support demand-side management

Brown, J. W. K. ; Booysen, Marthinus J. (2015-01)

SAUPEC 2015, 28 - 30 January 2015, Resolution Circle Towers, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Proceedings of the 23rd Southern African Universities Power Engineering Conference

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In the current climate of energy shortages and attempts to reduce electricity consumption, demand-side management has proven to be effective and popular. One implementation of demand-side management has been to provide the end-user with control over the ubiquitous houshold water heater (called geysers in South Africa). This paper presents a novel way to interact with water heaters, in which water heater control and monitoring is provided on a website that is accessible through a Wi-Fi hotspot interface. Both of these are hosted by the processor that controls electricity supply, tank temperature, and water supply; and monitors electricity consumption, water consumption, inlet, outlet and tank temperatures. The proposed system also provides protection against inevitable mechanical failure of the water heater, by detecting leaks and bursts, and by stopping water and electricity supply in such scenarios. This paper shows that the proof of concept is realisable in terms of cost, functionality, and energy savings.

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