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Remote control of gas water heater

This is a discussion on Remote control of gas water heater within the Home DIY Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. The conventional gas water heater is equipped with a mechanical thermostat manually controlled installed on the Geyser. Is there any


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Old 11-15-2009, 09:00 AM   #1
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The conventional gas water heater is equipped with a mechanical thermostat manually controlled installed on the Geyser. Is there any electronic control thermostat available with an additional power supply. Is there any circuit diagram available for this gadget.

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Old 11-15-2009, 12:27 PM   #2
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Hello Farooq

A very warm welcome - I do not know of any such device sorry

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Old 11-15-2009, 12:37 PM   #3
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Hi and welcome to TSF

Could you expand on your question a little ? From what I see that Geyser water heater are electric.

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Old 11-15-2009, 12:41 PM   #4
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most gas water heaters, and other gas fueled heaters to my knowledge, use a thermocouple safety device/valve at the ignition to prevent gas being supplied in the event that the "igniter" has extinguished. all the time the thermocouple is hot the gas will be allowed to flow to the main "furnace", if it's cold then you have to use the manual bypass system to re-ignite, heat up then release the bypass valve.

there is no electronic circuit for this although the manufacturer must have mechanical diagrams. there are no batteries and no other components.
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:25 AM   #5
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Sears and a couple other mfgs make a water heater that uses a Honeywell digital controller. These are self powered from the t'couple but with some serious reverse engineering someone might be able to rig a way to open/shut the control signal circuit in one of these.

One thing to consider when doing this with any WH.... if you intend to routinely start it up from a stone cold condition you should have an expansion tank in the system to limit the pressure transients from heat up.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:20 AM   #6
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Thank you Basementgeek for guidance.
I hope this message appears in the forum.
My problem about the gas water heater is about its thermostat setting. I think there should be some electronic system for remote control. The conventional gas water heater is equipped with a mechanical type thermostat which needs manual thermostat setting. It has one pilot flame which remains lighted always. Thermostat puts the main flame on or off. To save gas, the setting is made such that it remains off during night hours. In the morning it needs to increase the setting to put the main flame on manually. For this, one has to go outside the house in the early morning to approach the water heater. This is difficult task in cold winter mornings. If there is no such existing gadget, I would request the friends to work together to design one. It will need one mini solenoid valve, temperature indicator and controller and a sensor. This way one will be able to set the thermostat from the washroom.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:46 AM   #7
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If there is one it could likely be found here.
http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/start.shtml
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:12 AM   #8
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I think the best and cheapest method would be to add insulation to the tank. Got be careful doing it with a gas heater, don't want to block any air vents or flue.

My tank is located in my heated basement, about 3 meters away and it never runs unless we are using hot water. It is off all night unless there is usage.

Maybe some pipe insulation?

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Old 11-17-2009, 10:18 AM   #9
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OK .. It sounds to me like you are looking for an override switch which would be coupled to the timer switch.

I can't see that you really have problems with the thermostat , you require to get to the "clock" that controls the timing mechanism which "keeps the water from being heated overnight"

In most systems that I have seen there is a thermostat which controls the water temperature, there is the "flame" which is a safety mechanism to ensure that when the gas is supplied to the main burner it will be ignited rather than sending a mass of gas into an open area waiting for the first cigarette smoker to walk in.
In addition there is usually a clock that is used to control when and for how long the water is to be heated in addition to the built in thermostat that regulates the turn off point for heating.

What you more than likely need to do is find the clock and change it's setting or look for an override control. You may need to make a parallel connection to the override switch, putting another switch across the contacts, however

THIS IS LIKELY TO HAVE A LETHAL VOLTAGE ACROSS IT AND REQUIRE THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM BE TURNED OFF SHOULD YOU START TO WORK WITH IT!!!
ALSO THE SWITCH YOU PLACE ELSEWHERE TO DO YOUR WORK SHOULD BE TOTALLY ISOLATED SO THAT NO-ONE IS KILLED BY YOUR HANDY-WORK!
I HOPE I DON'T NEED TO SAY THAT THE WIRING NEEDS TO BE CHANNELED OUT OF SIGHT AND OUT OF TOUCH USING THE PROPER GRADE WIRING FOR THE JOB!
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:39 AM   #10
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I am going only by most heaters found in the USA. I think most are strictly mechanically controlled. There is no connection to a electric circuit.

Control an electric water heater would be easy. Gas I think would be hard.

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Old 11-17-2009, 11:09 AM   #11
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Gas, oil and coal heaters are going to be pretty much the same .. the thermostat that controls water temperature will be on a pipe somewhere close to the main "furnace" so as to monitor water temperature at source. if the boiler is a dual heating system then there will be a "local" thermostat for room temperatures and a thermostat within the main water tank itself. Like with Electrical water heating, the thermostat will be "housed" into the tank to get best possible indication of water temperature.

A purely Electrical system is usually just a switch at some convenient point. Here in Greece for instance , the switch is in the main fuse compartment and controls the heater directly. In England a convenient switch is fitted in the kitchen, since it is from there that one frequently requires to top up the hot water tank.
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:08 AM   #12
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No on the gas heater question.
Are you a landlord trying to save on the tenents hot water usage?
Consider a mixing valve on the piping.
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Old 11-22-2009, 04:15 PM   #13
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Is someone manually turning the water heater off at night?

Even entirely self sufficient gas water heaters do have an electrical circuit to open and close the gas valve in most cases. If you have wires coming from the manual thermostat to the gas valve all you would theoretically have to do is break one leg of the circuit with either a timer or a switch to keep the tank from heating overnight.
You'd have to be careful breaking this circuit and adding components to it because its a millivolt system and millivolts are really easy to lose if the correct conductors aren't used.
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Old 12-19-2009, 11:36 PM   #14
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Thank you, Stedman ! You are the first person who has replied the way I wanted to. Now I would like to know about the solenoid valve manufacturer. I understand it should be a special device for use on the gas. The ordinary valves may have leakage problem.
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:50 AM   #15
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it may be worth your while to look into tankless water heaters with the tax credits and rebates that are currently available.
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Old 12-20-2009, 02:56 AM   #16
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Farooq, as his name might suggest, is not a US resident & appears to be from Islamabad region of Pakistan so your idea may not help him too much. However it may help others who are searching for solutions.
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:44 AM   #17
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The idea is not practical and the use of a tankless water hearter (suggested by Stu) or replacing the water heater with a newer more efficient model would be the best solution. The lack of electronic ignition is the downfall of the OP's goal because any solenoid would have to be installed between the gas control and burner. Any control in the main gas supply line to try to time the fuel will also extinguish the pilot light which will have to be manually re-lit. I'm also going to guess that the water heater has a few years on it and most likely will need to be replaced in the future. Contend with what you have and save your money for a more efficient model when the need arises.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:51 AM   #18
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It really isn't in any way a practical idea but i doubt that's going to discourage you from trying something. Since you insist on providing no real details about the unit you're trying to control i'm going to give you a couple of examples.

If the controller is something similar to this:


so you can remove the cover and see the wires easily then there may be something you can accomplish.

However if your temperature controller looks like the majority of residential water heaters:


You're going to be out of luck because there is no safe or easy way to accomplish your goal.

If your temp control/valve looks nothing like either of these examples you need to post either pictures or model numbers of both the tank, thermostat, and valve before anyone can even begin to think of a way to help you.

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