Tankless water heaters have moved well into the mainstream of the residential market, and for good reason: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, deploying these on-demand water heaters throughout a home can save between 27 and 50% on energy costs for water heating, making them a particularly appealing choice for many green building projects. But what if your home is fitted with conventional tank-type electric or gas water heaters, and you’re not ready to replace them with a full tankless solution? Then the Eemax AutoBooster―a compact add-on device that employs tankless technology and connects into a standard water heater―might be just the ticket to more efficient water heating.
The Eemax AutoBooster is designed to increase hot-water delivery capacity for conventional water heaters, and its compact form factor facilitates installation on top of the water heater, or alternatively on a nearby wall. The device uses tankless water heater technology.
When walking the expansive floors earlier this year at the 2017 NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando, Florida, we met up with Tom Schroeder, a regional sales manager for Eemax―a well-established manufacturer of a full line of tankless water heaters, including their popular HomeAdvantage II line. “The Eemax AutoBooster brings the same on-demand technology we’re using in our HomeAdvantage II line of tankless water heaters, but offers homeowners who are looking for more efficiency with their legacy water heating systems an alternative for saving energy and saving water,” said Schroeder. “The AutoBooster is compact enough to install right on top of most electric or gas water heaters, and can increase deliverable hot water up to 45%. I have one installed in my own house.”
The AutoBooster has an external knob and digital user interface for easy adjustment, and connects into the hot water outlet on the legacy water heater. When used with an existing electric water heater system, the AutoBooster taps into the electrical wiring already in place; when used with a gas water heater, wiring will need to be installed to connect into the home’s electrical panel. Of course, these devices can be easily installed as part of a new water heater installation.
Tom Schroeder from Eemax demonstrated the AutoBooster for us at the 2017 NAHB International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida. The demo system was installed on a conventional Rheem electric water heater.
Among the smart features on the AutoBooster are Vacation Mode and Eco Mode, functions that work with electric water heater tanks: Vacation Mode shuts down the tank when the homeowner is away on vacation, while Eco Mode conserves energy by switching off the tank on a pre-defined schedule. Furthermore, a Freeze Protect feature can automatically turn on an electric tank when the tank outlet water temperature has dropped below 60°F.
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