Despite the fact that they’re used on a daily basis by millions of people around the world, water heaters haven’t really gotten a significant update in quite a while. The last big thing was the advent of tankless heaters, and since then, there hasn’t been much innovation in water heater design.
Until now, that is. Jerry Callahan and his company ISI Technology weren’t satisfied with the tankless water heaters we have today, so they gave them a complete overhaul, and they’re currently Kickstarting their creation. It’s called the Heatworks Model 1, and here’s why you should care about it.
First of all, ISI designed the Model 1 from the ground up with a new type of heating system that the company says is vastly superior to the one used in your current heater. Tankless water heaters typically rely on a resistance heating element to warm up the water. In order to get it to a reasonable temperature in just a few seconds, these elements need to get extremely hot, and it’s not uncommon for them to reach temperatures well over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit on the surface. This method is undeniably effective at heating water, but it comes with one big drawback: this massive heat difference between the water and the coil slowly causes minerals in the water to plate to the heating element, which over time can build up and make the coil inefficient – or even cause it to fail completely.
Heatworks circumvents this problem with its patented “direct electric resistance” technology that uses two graphite electrodes and the water’s own resistance to directly energize and heat it. This apparently ensures no plating effect, superb temperature control, reliable operation, and a significantly longer lifespan compared to traditional water heaters. In independent tests, ISI has determined that the Model 1 is up to 40 percent more energy efficient, and 10 percent more water efficient than the average tankless heater. All this, and it’s still only a little bit larger than a football.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you realize that despite the big upfront costs, switching to a tankless water heater would save you money in the long run – but you still haven’t gotten around to upgrading because installation is confusing. Not to worry; Heatworks solves that problem too. Rather than coming with a hard-set voltage requirements, Model 1 auto-senses voltage and can be adjusted to fit your needs. This way there’s no need to spend a bunch of time figuring out what model you need – it’s pretty much one-size-fits-all.
The project has already blasted past its orginal funding goal on Kickstarter, and still has about a month left in its campaign. Back the project now, and you can lock one down for around $300 bucks. The best part is that since Callahan and his company have been developing the Model 1 for the better part of seven years, the design is completely finalized, so all that’s left is to gather money for production tooling costs. Once the campaign ends, they expect to ship the first units in March of 2014.
Hit up the project on Kickstarter for more details.