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Product Review: Rinnai Smart Cylinder 180L Stainless Steel

All creature comforts can be made “smart” these days, from TVs to washing machines and now even our heaters. And what difference do they make! Not only do they allow us to make better use of our time, but they also help us trim down our household bills.

rinnai_smart_cylinder_180LThe 180L Rinnai Smart Cylinder is one such modern-day wonder. You wouldn’t think a hot water cylinder could save you cash, but this one promises just that! To be more precise, the Rinnai Smart Cylinder promises to shave up to 10% off your water heating costs. That’s a huge savings considering the fact that hot water heating accounts for around 30% of the average household energy bill.

It’s called smart for a reason: its thermostat learns your household’s hot water usage behaviour so it only heats water when it’s actually needed. This is unlike traditional electric hot water cylinders, which heats water round the clock.

In theory, it’s a total game changer. But does it deliver? Let’s take a closer look at its features, benefits and performance.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The Rinnai Smart Cylinder is suitable for residential indoor water heating applications with mains and low pressure systems. It has triple inlets that make installation easy, and a curved element design that ensures 98% of water is heated.

Product name: Rinnai Smart Cylinder Low-Medium Pressure
Construction: High grade duplex stainless steel tan
Product diameter/height: 488/1660
Capacity: 180L
Connections: Hot and cold water connections ¾” (20mm)
Element: 3kW Incoloy 825 alloy sheath element positioned at the bottom of the tank
Max. working pressure: 120 kPa
Thermostat: Cothern iQuaflex 14 A probe thermostat
Cylinder recovery time: 3 hrs 9 mins (3kW) Based on a thermostat temp.setting of 60 °C and an incoming water temp. of 15 °C
Warranty: 10 years

The smart cylinder features an easy-to-use LCD control pad where you can access its three modes:

  • iQ Automatic Mode – This smart leaning mode enables the cylinder to learn a week’s worth of hot water usage in the home, which then sets a savings algorithm that automatically adjust the cylinder heating times according to your hot water usage pattern. Hot water usage habits are constantly monitored, so the saving algorithm is always updated according to anticipated demand. This means you always have a certain amount of hot water at all times depending on the level you select.
  • Vacation Mode – A hot bath is always a nice way to shake off the stress and aches of traveling. Traditionally, you’ll have to wait for your water heater to heat up nicely before you could take that much-needed relaxing shower. But with the Rinnai Smart Cylinder, you can have hot water as soon as you enter the door.

You simply set it to vacation mode, select the number of days you will be away for and the cylinder takes care of the rest. It keeps the water at a minimum temperature (6°C) while you are away to save power and keep the water from freezing in colder areas. After the specified period, the cylinder automatically reverts back to the operating mode you have selected before vacation was set.

  • Manual Mode – This mode operates the Rinnai Smart Cylinder as a traditional electric hot water cylinder. It’s most useful when you are having guests over. You simply set it using the mode button to make sure water is permanently maintained at a temperature.

NOTEWORTHY FEATURES

There are few other things that make the Rinnai Smart Cylinder a great option for hot water cylinder for your home.

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  • A water level indicator
    Just above the shower symbol, there are visual levels that show the estimated amount of hot water available (occurs in iQ mode). The default setting (level 3) achieves energy savings whilst it ensures you have enough hot water available.
  • Maintenance/error indicator

This features makes troubleshooting easy. If something is wrong with the cylinder, an error code is indicated by the maintenance logo, the error code number and a flashing background light.

  • Child lock
    Prevent unwanted access to the control pad to keep the whole family safe.
  • Biosafe operation

The Rinnai Smart Cylinder meets the New Zealand Building Code requirement to disinfect water for legionella bacteria. To ensure water safety, the system performs heating above 60 °C whenever it detects risk conditions (<60 °C for 21 days).

CONS

The Rinnai Smart Cylinder is ideal for households that have a consistent pattern of hot water use. Otherwise, its iQ mode will not be accurate and will provide little advantage in terms of cost savings.

The smart cylinder doesn’t work for an open loop solar or hot water heat pump system, and it’s strictly for indoor use. You can’t use it as a pool or spa heater.

The Verdict

The Rinnai Smart Cylinder is a reliable appliance all in all. It does its job well and even saves you money. Its smart features offer benefits that are well worth the upgrade from gas, if you’re ever considering it.