A hidden markov model and fuzzy logic forecasting approach for solar geyserwater heating

Daniel N. de Bruyn, Ben Kotze, William Hurst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Time-based smart home controllers govern their environment with a predefined routine, without knowing if this is the most efficient way. Finding a suitable model to predict energy consumption could prove to be an optimal method to manage the electricity usage. The work presented in this paper outlines the development of a prediction model that controls electricity consumption in a home, adapting to external environmental conditions and occupation. A backup geyser element in a solar geyser solution is identified as a metric for more efficient control than a time-based controller. The system is able to record multiple remote sensor readings from Internet of Things devices, built and based on an ESP8266 microcontroller, to a central SQL database that includes the hot water usage and heating patterns. Official weather predictions replace physical sensors, to provide the data for the environmental conditions. Fuzzification categorises the warm water usage from the multiple sensor recordings into four linguistic terms (None, Low, Medium and High). Partitioning clustering determines the relationship patterns between weather predictions and solar heating efficiency. Next, a hidden Markov model predicts solar heating efficiency, with the Viterbi algorithm calculating the geyser heating predictions, and the Baum-Welch algorithm for training the system. Warm water usage and solar heating efficiency predictions are used to calculate the optimal time periods to heat the water through electrical energy. Simulations with historical data are used for the evaluation and validation of the approach, by comparing the algorithm efficiency against time-based heating. In a simulation, the intelligent controller is 19.9% more efficient than a time-based controller, with higher warm water temperatures during the day. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that a controller, with knowledge of external conditions, can be switched on 728 times less than a time-based controller.

Original languageEnglish
Article number67
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021


  • Esp8266
  • Fuzzy logic
  • Hidden markov model
  • Partial clustering
  • Profile usage
  • Profile weather conditions
  • Solar geyser


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