ShabbHOT: Halachically Permissible Hot Water on Shabbat!
ARTICLE RESEARCHED AND WRITTEN BY: JERRY SCHRANZ - writer and freelance public relations specialist.
Here’s something to think about on Yom Tov.
Did you know that the average water heater lasts between eight and 12 years?
Keyspan Energy statistics show on average a household (depending on size and age of water heater) spends about $50 a month on maintaining 130 degrees hot water in their water tank, which is several degrees higher than ‘Yad Soledet Bo’.
(109 degrees Fahrenheit according to the Steipler z’tl or 113 degrees according to Rav Moshe Feinstein, z’tl).
Wouldn't it be great if we can save on our energy bills and increase the life expectancy of our water heaters?
Wouldn’t it even be greater if we, as Jews, could use hot water on Shabbat in the 21st Century?
ShabbHOT™ a new revolutionary water heater attachment has become widely spoken about and discussed by Jewish communities across the U.S. It’s a Halachically-sound product that makes it possible to use hot water on Shabbat.
From a halachic point of view, heating water is viewed as cooking, or transferring heat, which is prohibited on Shabbat and results from the direct action of opening the hot water faucet, a reason why we don’t turn the hot water on at all on Shabbat.
“Most people as a result of using hot water on a daily basis do not realize that today’s new water heaters are federally mandated to not have standing pilots which means they are electronically ignited,” says master plumber Yossie Gove from Joseph Gove Plumbing & Heating Inc. “In effect this would not even allow one to use hot water on Yom Tov. It would be no different than turning on a stove on Yom Tov (or Shabbat) with an electronic ignition system.” Gove is a licensed plumber in New Jersey and is the certified ShabbHOT installer for Northern New Jersey.
Gove has found in several homes instances where the homeowner has been inadvertently been Mechallel Shabbat and Yom Tov for years without knowing that their current units are either electronically ignited or power-vented. “ShabbHOT units can be attached to all of these water heaters allowing Jews to be sure of their Sh'mirat Shabbat,” states Gove.
“Typically, a normal water heater consists of a thermostat-controlled gas valve with a dial-type control that is not accurate and cannot give an exact temperature reading. In addition, the temperature from the bottom to the top of the water heater can be an upwards differential of 30 degrees. In Halachic terms, as soon as any hot fixture is leaking or opened, it causes cold water to rush to the top of the tank, mixing with above ‘Yad Soledet Bo’ water causing “Bishul’ on Shabbat.”
ShabbHOT causes a consistency between the bottom and top of the water tank controlled by an LED thermostat controller. Now, users are able to read the temperature consistently and its accuracy ensures that the temperature always remains below 109 degrees Fahrenheit. It uses a precise digital thermostatic readout that randomly checks the temperature of the water heater. Once it is determined that the temperature has gone below the set temperature or program temperature, an additional control randomly chooses a countdown that ignites the burner assemble.
“This, as well as other parts of the ShabbHOT unit, enable the halachic usage of hot water on Shabbat and Yom Tov,” says Gove.
ShabbHOT was developed to have four settings (Awake, Away, Home and Sleep modes) plus manual and “Shabbat” modes designed as a 5/2 day thermostat. The first four allow you to set the water heater temperature through a thermostat similar to controlling your typical heating or air conditioning. If the temperature is lowered, then the unit will automatically fire less, resulting in less fuel consumption. In addition, the “ShabbHOT” and manual modes allow you to override the programming according to your desired Shabbat needs.
At other times when the hot water is needed, the unit can be programmed for 130-140 degrees and below Yad Soledet Bo for Shabbat and Yom Tov. “It’s as easy as programming your heating and cooling thermostat,” says Gove. He suggests once installed, the homeowner should program the ShabbHOT unit on a weekly or monthly basis with consideration toward candle lighting times. Gove points out that the unit does not need to be reprogrammed every week, but can be programmed monthly.
With ShabbHOT, you can now make use of hot water for normal activities taken for granted during the week, yet prohibited on Shabbat (in many cases on Yom Tov). These activities include washing dishes, bathing a baby, heating up bottles, using hot water because of certain medical conditions (arthritis) or for simply washing your hands with warm water on a cold winter day.
Gove believes technology will allow families to bring back the beauty and enjoyment of Shabbat in a more natural atmosphere. “We live in a modern society where you would think the use of hot water should be available at all times, even during Shabbat, but the reality is that this has not been the case until now.”
All you need is the brand, model and serial number and BTU rating of your current water heater to determine compatibility.
He suggests consulting with the ShabbHOT Website (www.ShabbHOT.com) and your local Halachic authority for further questions.
ShabbHOT was originally conceived by Sterling Water Heaters Corp. (www.sterlingwaterheaters.com) as a way to remain observant with the rules of Shabbat.
Gove points out that people will no longer have to hesitate using a sink with a single lever faucet. “People are concerned about inadvertently transgressing the laws of Shabbat and this will permit them to avoid any transgression.”
From a safety perspective, throughout the U.S. there are tens of thousands of occurrences of children getting scalded as a result of fluctuating water heater temperatures. In the wrong circumstances it takes only moments for someone to develop a third degree burn.
The ShabbHOT unit prevents burns and scalding as a result of its ability to control the temperatures to a specific degree. In addition, the unit complies with the U.S. Department of Energy guidelines, where they estimate consumers can save roughly $132 a year on energy bills.
The controller fits in the palm of your hand, just larger than the size of an iPod™. It also uses three AAA batteries that stores the time, programming and current modes as set by the user. It even has the means to restore the settings if there's a power outage.
The ShabbHOT controller can be installed on an existing water heater you currently have (electric or gas)
by a licensed plumber or in a new water heater. The ShabbHOT unit plus the installation costs between $950 and $1100.
Gove points out that the initial investment will pay for itself over approximately three years.
Owners of water heaters beyond 8 years should consider replacing the existing water heater because you may end up installing ShabbHot and need to apply it to a new water heater within a few years.
When installed with a NEW water heater, its lifespan can be increased by more than half of its expected use,
saving the customer approximately $100 per year beyond the typical 8 to 12 year lifespan.
A $15 surge protector is required to ensure minimal service to the unit. In areas of hard water (high mineral concentration) an electronic softener is advised to ensure proper functioning of the sensor shank in the bottom of the water heater.
Yossie Gove has installed more than 30 units in Passaic, Fair Lawn, Clifton, Teaneck, Bergenfield, Edison, West Orange, and Englewood, and has orders for more installations. He has been a licensed plumber for more than seven years and is the certified ShabbHOT installer for Northern Jersey.
Feel free to view the Halachic Haskamot on the website: www.shabbhot.com.
Rabbi Abraham Blumenkrantz z’tl, Rabbi Yechezkel Roth of the Karlsburger Bais Din, Rabbi Berel Polatsek of the Vaad Hakashrus Meged Yehudah, and Rabbi Gavriel Zinner of Congregation Nitei Gavriel in Brooklyn are among the group of rabbanim who have endorsed ShabbHOT.
Yossie Gove is not only an installer, but also a consumer of this product.
He invites your questions by phone (973) 473-6072 or e-mail, goveplumbing @ optonline.net.
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