The Motivation

I have two small problems in my house. An ever-increasing electricity consumption bill and a girlfriend which likes to take hot baths at unpredictable times during the day.

Until recently, we left our water heater switched on, 24/7. But then we took a look at our electricity counter readings. Needless to say, we switched it off immediately! An old water heater can indeed make the electricity counter wheel spin fast, very fast…!

So we started switching it on and off whenever we needed to take a bath. The problem was that we weren’t always at home and the water took almost an hour to heat-up! So I decided to connect it to the internet!

The Configuration


The SmartBoiler is contained in a small box and placed on top of the house’s main electricity bord. A mechanical arm extends out of the box. It’s bottom end is clipped to the heater’s switch whereas its top end is attached to a motor in the SmartBoiler.

The arm can be displaced verticaly.

The box contains a motor an arduino Yun. The later checks, at regular time intervals, a .txt file on a web-server to see whether me (or my girlfriend!) have turned on the heater. If yes, it launches the motor and the switch is turned on!

The user interface is a simple website. You can view it here: http://gcool.info/smartboiler/

Do It Yourself!

To do this project you need 5 things:

  • A web-server hosting service
  • An arduino Yun
  • A servo motor (I chose the Towerpro MG995)
  • A laser cutter (or excellent wood-crafting skills!)
  • A bit of mdf
You can download the laser cutter files here: http://gcool.info/smartboiler/laser/boiler_box.svg

All code (documented of course!) can be found in my github repository: https://github.com/gcool-info/smartboiler

You need to dimension the mechanical parts. Check this link: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:17240

Check out the images!

What next?

Although I created this to control my water heater, this project can be used to control any mechanical switch. Simply dimension the box correctly and you can control everything via the internet. Your lights, your house’s main electricity switch,… Hell, the possibilities are limitless!