Calypso by Sinopé: the smart water heater controller

Sinopé’s Calypso smart controller reduces water heater consumption during Hydro-Québec peak events to reduce your energy bill. After a winter test, it is clear that the technology is working well, but the savings are likely to vary greatly from one household to another.

Before I present you with my essay on Calypso, I must be reminded of Hydro-Québec’s dynamic pricing.

Dynamic pricing

Since the end of 2019, Hydro-Québec has been encouraging Quebecers to reduce their electricity consumption during periods of high energy demand in order to light their grid (usually on very cold days, for a few hours in the morning and evening). To encourage them to do so, the public corporation has implemented dynamic pricing (Flex D and D rates with winter credit), which in some cases allows you to save on your energy bill when you reduce your energy consumption during these periods.

In Tariff D with winter credit, the household pays for electricity at the base price, but the electricity it consumes less than its usual consumption at peak times allows it to save (this calculation is made by Hydro-Quebec). Tariff D with winter credit provides more modest savings than Rate Flex D, but it is risk-free because you can’t pay more for electricity than usual.

The Flex D tariff, on the other hand, saves up to 30% on winter electricity prices (December 1 to March 31) except during peak periods when electricity is more expensive (51.967 cents/kWh compared to 6.319 cents/kWh to 9.749 cents/kWh, typically with tariff D).

The savings that you can get with the Flex D tariff are greater, but you can also lose out and pay more for electricity if you consume too much during winter peaks.

Here’s to that reminder. So, Calypso in five questions.

See also: Dynamic electricity pricing: is it worth saving?

Calypso, what is it?

This is a smart controller that is not a product of Hydro-Québec or its subsidiary Hilo, but still allows you to take advantage of dynamic pricing. The controller is connected to the internet, which lets it know when the winter peaks are coming, and it can automatically power off your water heater during those peaks and then turn it back on when they are gone.

Your total electricity consumption is the same (the water heats up later, but still warms up), but this happens at off-peak hours, and you no longer need to go without a shower in the morning or let the children bathe in their free time. in the evening to prevent the water heater from starting at the wrong time.

Is it useful for anything else?

The Calypso controller has a port where you can insert a water detection cable (sold separately for $89.99) that allows you to receive alerts when a water leak is detected on the floor next to the water heater. The device can also be used to remotely turn off the water heater when you leave home for a few days.

Please note that the Calypso is also equipped with a temperature sensor that indicates the temperature of the water heater and which, among other things, restarts it when it detects a temperature below 45 degrees Celsius, in order to prevent the spread of legionellosis bacteria.

This sensor also lets you know the temperature of the water in real time, which I found useful to know if there was enough hot water left for an extra shower when guests were home during the summer months for parties, for example.

How to install it?

Calypso must be installed by an electrician.

The controller is installed on the power cord of the water heater. The temperature sensor should be located directly on the outer surface of the metal tank, under the insulation layer. Therefore, you will not need to drain the water during installation, which only takes about twenty minutes.

The Zigbee version of the Calypso then needs to be connected to the Sinopé GT130 gateway (sold for $99.99 if you don’t already have one), but a WiFi controller version is also available that doesn’t require a gateway. spring. If you already have a Sinopé system at home, installing the Calypso software takes just a few clicks.

Does it work with all water heaters?

Calypso is not connected to the water heater thermostat, but to the power cord. So it works with any electric water heater, as long as you have access to the outer surface of the tank under the insulation (which should normally be from the main hatch to access the electrical circuit).

Does it really save money?


– Neviweb app by Sinopé. Screenshot: Maxim Johnson.

Since the beginning of winter, I have participated in 18 winter peaks (I hope there will be no more by spring!). I’m personally subscribed to Tariff D with winter credit, so it’s hard to tell exactly where my savings came from, but I estimate that the Sinopé controller saved me about ten dollars during these events. If the winter were harsher and there were more peaks, the savings would obviously be greater.

During these activities, I used the dishwasher and washing machine less than usual, but did not avoid using hot water for showers and baths. My water heater never went below 45 degrees Celsius so it was never turned on during peak usage.

I love that this savings of about $10 was achieved without any effort and without any impact on my comfort… But at this amount, buying a controller will pay for itself in 10 years.

However, savings should vary greatly from household to household. The consumption profile (when showering, for example), the size of the water heater (the smaller one will have to be restarted more often to keep it below the minimum temperature), the number of people in the household, the severity of the winter, and electricity consumption in general will affect the savings that can be obtained with a winter heater. loan.

The savings you could make with a winter loan could certainly be more than mine, but if you have a really big family and the winter isn’t particularly cold, I doubt it could go over $20-$40 extra.

However, you can save a lot more with the Flex D tariff (remember that electricity is charged at 51.967 cents/kWh during peak periods, but at other times it costs less than the usual tariff).

Let’s count. The Neviweb application states that my water heater consumes an average of 1 kWh in the morning from 6 am to 9 am and about 5 kWh in the evening from 4 pm to 8 pm. If I had a Flex D rate, I would have saved about $30 during peak 18 events without changing our shower and bath habits. It is easy to imagine that another family could save even more.

In short, is it worth that $104.99? With a Tariff D with winter credit, the Calypso isn’t useless, but I get the impression that the ROI is likely to be long for most families. Those who qualify for the Flex D plan will be able to find their account there faster.

See also: How to choose a water heater

Main Image: The Calypso Smart Controller from Quebec-based Sinopé is priced at $104.99. Photo: Sinop.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.