Grid-Enabled Water Heaters

Designed for energy management

Grid-enabled water heaters (GEWHs) are standard electric water heating units 75 gallons or larger. They have built-in software or hardware that limits their performance by 50% unless they’re installed on a utility energy-management program such as our off-peak program that offers discounted rates in exchange for partnering with us to help manage the electric system.

Where to find grid-enabled water heaters

Several manufacturers are introducing GEWH systems within our service territory. One that entered the market early is Vaughan Thermal Corporation that distributes their V-Grid Services GEWH units in our service area through Auer Steel, a wholesale supplier. To confirm a water heater qualifies as grid-enabled, check the certificate on the website.

Check our list of dealers ready to install a Vaughn GEWH in your home or business.

The benefits of grid-enabled water heaters

These types of water heaters not only recognize the importance of energy-control programs, but also help keep your electricity costs low. Even better, GEWHs are eligible for rebates of up to $400.

How grid-enabled water heaters work

GEWHs are a new type of water heating technology designed to meet the Department of Energy's efficiency requirements that went into effect in April 2015. They're more than 90% efficient with efficiency varying by tank size. (Look for the uniform efficiency factor [UEF] rating when selecting a new water heater.) 

A qualified contractor must install this type of water heater and will activate the unit’s full capacity once it's connected to our energy control system. We use energy control to manage the electric system during occasional peak events.

  • GEWHs require an activation key (software code or mechanical key) to be used during installation to enable the unit to operate at its full design capacity.
  • The law intends that GEWHs be activated only when installed as part of a utility thermal storage or demand response program.
  • Without activation the GEWH will provide 50% or less of its rated first hour delivery of hot water. This is accomplished by one element remaining off.
  • Authorized installers receive access to the required activation key. The unlocking process allows the second element in the water heater to operate as needed.

Vaughn's newest V-Grid water heater is light-weight and energy efficient.