Under Sink Water Heaters
Under sink water heaters, also called under counter water heaters, point of use water heaters or instant water heaters for the sink, are water heaters that are usually installed in kitchen sections or in the bathroom, under the sink or counter, for easy operation and instant access to hot water. They are normally small appliances that are meant for instant water heating at the home or office, at the point of service. Under sink water heaters can save you lots of water, energy, and money when properly installed and used.
Advantages of Using Under Sink Water Heaters
A good working condition under sink water heater can offer lots of advantages for those who use it. One of the main advantages of using under sink water heaters is that they provide instant hot water to distant fixtures, which can significantly shorten the wait time. With this method, you do not have to go through the effort of running long pipes from the central water heater. You simply just plug this small water heater near the faucet and you get to enjoy instant hot water.
Purchasing an under sink water heater gives you the following advantages:
It is very easy to install as it comes with a quick installation guide.
It minimizes your heating cost up to 50% and it also minimizes used energy and water waste.
The under sink water heater is typically small in size, lightweight and compact. It does not take up too much space.
The under sink water heater saves you money since it eliminates the need for costly recirculating lines and/or pumps.
The under sink water heater efficiently saves water as it is used where it is needed, at the point of use – bathroom sink, kitchen sink, laundry, small cabins, garage, offices, boats and RVs, etc.
The under sink water heater typically serves one or two faucets which is mainly used for doing the dishes, shaving, handwashing, etc.
Interested buyers can choose from two different types of under sink water heaters – tank type or tankless. The tank type has a limited tank size which is usually from 2.5 gallons up to 20 gallons, whereas the tankless type can provide an unlimited water supply but with a restricted flow.
If you plan on supplying many fixtures or if you have a greater hot water demand (washing machine, shower, dishwasher), you will require a larger capacity model.
The tankless types typically heat water instantaneously because it flows through the unit and there is absolutely no standby heat loss.
The desired temperature of the outgoing water can be set by simply using the temperature dial.
Under sink water heaters can either be mounted to the wall or they can be floor standing.
Under sink water heaters are considered to be appliances that are very reliable, safe, and energy-efficient.
Under sink water heaters possess a compact body and have other easy-to-use features.
Under sink water heaters provide a safety feature for safe and reliable operation.
Buying and Installation Tips on Under Sink Water Heaters
When searching for a good quality under sink water heater to buy, it is wise to choose from the popular brands because they have a more thorough expertise regarding under sink water heaters, and they can certainly offer models that have unique and quality features. The most important criteria when choosing the right under sink water heater are:
Incoming water temperature
Activation flow rate
Water flow rate. A typical bathroom faucet allows an average 0.5 GPM (or gallons of water per minute); the shower, 1.5 to 3.0 GPM.
Heating power in kW
Price and warranty
Available features such as relief valve for safety, the modulation, and a conveniently situated thermostat
Under sink water heaters are for sale in many online stores. Buying the actual unit is one thing, but installing it is another different matter. Below is a simple and quick general installation guide for most models of under sink water heaters:
Decide where you want to install the under sink water heater appliance and get it ready for installation. The under sink water heater unit must be mounted closer to the fixture – under the sink, under the countertop, or inside the cabinet. Ensure that you will allow appropriate clearance for correct draining, maintenance, and service.
Gather all the installation tools you will need. The tools that are typically required are recommended in the manufacturer’s manual such as screwdrivers, an adjustable wrench, etc.
Prepare all the necessary plumbing components.
Follow the quick installation guide in the manufacturer’s manual that comes with the under sink water heater appliance. You also need to designate an electrical outlet. Simply follow the steps for plumbing connections.
The under sink water heater must have a T&P valve installed.
Remove all the debris and air. You need to do this after filling the under sink water heater unit with water. You must run the faucet for a few minutes to get rid of any air bubbles in the water heater. Never ever put the water heater ON unless you have already filled it with water. If in case you did, serious damage may occur.
Popular Models of Under Sink Water Heaters
There are many under sink water heater brands and models available in the market today. They can range from prices $150 to $250. Listed below are the most popular ones:
Bosch GL2.5 Ariston
Bosch AE-12 PowerStar
Below are other popular brands that offer good quality under sink water heaters:
Stiebel Eltron Tempra
An under sink water heater is an electric-powered water heating appliance that gives instant water heating at home or at the office. It is a nifty appliance that saves you energy, water, and money. They are typically small, space-saving, efficient, and they provide hot water instantly. A tank-type under sink water heater has a limited capacity whereas a tankless under sink water heater can provide an endless supply of instant hot water. They are generally available online and also in stores such as Lowe’s, Walmart, and Home Depot.
What Causes Water Heater Breakdown
Water heaters, just like any other home appliance, can help us make our lives easier. However, as long as it is being used by you and your family, then you have to make sure that it is working fine and it is maintained regularly. If you own a water heater at home, then you should be well aware of the causes that can potentially make your water heater breakdown, unless it is perfectly fine for you to just spend money and buy another one.
1. Sediment Buildup
Sediments or scale is usually created when hard water is heated up. It normally builds up in the bottom part of the water heater unit, wherein the sediments insulate the tank bottom from the protection of the anode. This also causes the tank bottom to overheat and eventually melt away the protective glass lining of the water heater unit. There are many instances that homeowners said that the bottom of their water heater dropped out and their garage or basement was flooded due to this. As someone who uses a water heater, you also ought to know that too much sediment buildup can also void the warranties in commercial water heater units.
2. Very High Water Pressure
Most people are not very much aware of this culprit that can cause a water heater breakdown. The water pressure gauge that is present on the drain valve of a typical water heater unit must always show a pressure that is between 60 to 80 psi. Anything that is more than 80 psi can really damage your water heater unit, the piping, and the other appliances it is linked to. If you have a very high water pressure, then you must have a pressure-reducing valve and maybe even an expansion tank. The expansion tank will protect against damage from thermal expansion (which occurs when a water heater fires up in a closed system in order to maintain temperature, but when nobody is currently using hot water). One way to know is when the temperature-pressure relief valve begins opening and closing. However, in time they often stop working.
3. Corrosive Fumes
To most people, it had never crossed their mind that their simple household cleaners (such as bleach, ammonia, and other acids) can potentially make a water heater unit break down. However, because of the fact that water heater units draw in air for combustion, and the components present in the air is crucial. Bleach, ammonia, acids and anything else near it can potentially break the water heater unit down due to their corrosive nature.
If in case the water heater unit draws corrosive air into the burner, then the fumes that will be created there will prove to be detrimentally corrosive, thus corroding the water heater as a result. This can potentially lead to premature water heater tank failure. Moreover, you should not store bleach, ammonia, and other corrosive agents where the water heater is placed, especially in tiny closed spaces because the fumes will quickly cause the water heater unit to corrode.
4. Internal Rust
If you have a water heater unit at home, then you should be well aware of the fact that its sacrificial anodes tend to get used up in the long run. If these sacrificial anodes are not replaced when they are supposed to, then the tank would rust, and then eventually, it would leak. Even if you replace it with a powered anode, it would be too late at that time.
For many water heater owners, they should be made aware that water softeners oftentimes speed up anode consumption. Under typical situations, if you have a water heater unit with a 5-year warranty, then that means that you can wait until those 5 years is almost up before you check its anode. For those individuals who use water softeners must check their anodes about once a year or once every 2 years. Another possible option for individuals who use water softeners is to use a powered anode, which is considered to be a permanent replacement to the sacrificial anode and it does not get used up as well as it does not need to be replaced.
5. Improper Sizing
Is your water heater unit a hard worker at your household? Is it always running all the time? Every water heater manufacturer nowadays have sizing programs that will let you input a specific number of people, number of appliances, number of bathrooms and then you will be given an estimate of the gallons and BTU in figures, which are usually along with several models that are able to fit those parameters. If you purchase a water heater unit that is too small for the tasks it will have to perform, it will gradually break down because of the constant contraction and expansion of the tank, even if the water pressure is normal and even if you frequently change the anode.
One of the most common ways on how a water heater breaks down is neglect – the person who buys them, installs them, and forgets about them should be the one responsible for taking care of them as well. Water heater units are normally placed in areas such as in the basement where the residents of the house seldom go to, which is obvious that nobody will ever check on that unit for a very long time. The availability of water heaters at home are only taken for granted as long as they are working out fine, but of course, until they break down. Make sure that your water heater unit will not end up suddenly breaking down and needing replacement, so do mark your calendar and schedule a regular maintenance check so you do not have to go through the trouble.
Over time, leaks can appear which can gradually damage your water heater unit from the outside. When your water heater unit has this kind of problem, then it is quite a little late to perform maintenance work on it. Additionally, if you put off maintenance work for far too long on your water heater unit, leaks can also develop inside the tank as well.
7. Leaking unions and flex lines
Unions and flex lines have to be really tightened after about 6 months due to the fact that the rubber washers will shrink down and then start to leak. These fittings, when neglected, can result in the breaking down of your water heater unit because it will rust from outside to the inside.
Tips in Choosing On-Demand Tankless Gas Water Heaters
It is without doubt that tankless gas water heaters are very energy efficient. Although there are times these models are unsuitable due to certain situations if they can be used they offer a significant amount of savings on utility bills. This is mostly because water is heated only when it is required, thereby saving a substantial amount of energy as compared to conventional tank versions that always heat water to maintain it at a certain temperature.
Even if it can be said that tankless gas water heaters are a very efficient type of water heating system, it cannot be said that they do not have any disadvantages towards their tank counterpart. The truth is tankless gas water heaters have their advantages as well as disadvantages.
• They are energy efficient which means they save a lot of energy.
• They are eco-friendly.
• They offer unlimited amounts of hot water as they are not limited by the capacity of the storage tank.
• They offer constant water temperature as they do not rely on how much heated water is stored in a tank.
• They are small in size which means they can be mounted on walls.
• It takes several seconds to a few minutes before hot water starts flowing out of the faucet. This makes shorts uses, such as washing of hands, somewhat impractical. Due to the time it takes to wait for hot water to flow, the initial flow of water which is unheated is wasted.
• The heater will automatically switch off if it detects the flow of water is too low. This is probably because the heater has a failsafe switch that allows it to detect a low flow of water, which for instance is caused by a faucet that is not fully closed. The main disadvantage of this failsafe switch is that the users may end up using more water.
• The heating capacity of tankless gas water heaters may not be enough to heat water up to temperature during winter times.
• These types of water heaters require more maintenance as compared to storage tank types.
• There are certain models that require its vents to be made of stainless steel and not galvanized steel, something which can cost to several hundred dollars.
• They require high gas pressure. Something which some areas will not be able to accommodate due to their low gas pressure.
• The warranties of these products are very strict and these warranties can easily be voided if the unit was not installed by licensed plumbers or the unit has not gone annual maintenance.
Tankless gas water heaters will have a maximum flow rate that ranges from 2 gallons per minute (GPM) to 7 gallons per minute (GPM). This comes with a temperature elevation of around 45°F on the water outlet. The flow rate can still be increased, but at the expense of the water temperature. Most households will consider 2 GPM too low, except of course during the summer months. Manufacturers however recommend 4 GPM as the minimum requirement for single applications, such as shower, washing machine, or dishwasher with each tap being opened one each time. If you plan on using two taps simultaneously, then it is recommended to have around 6 to 7 GPM.
The ignition system of a gas water heater can be powered by electricity, battery, pilot light, and water turbine ignition. Electricity is the most simple and reliable way to ignite the gas of your gas water heater. The only drawback with an electrical ignition system is that it will not work during power outages. Battery can also be very reliable. However, you need to replace the batteries when they run dry and this usually happens when you are in a hurry. The Pilot Light can be reliable as long as the light is not blown out should there be no automatic damper on the vent. The Water Turbine Engine is a turbine the spins from the flow of water and thereby generates electricity to power the electrical ignition. The main problem with this type of ignition system is that the turbine can sometimes jam, especially if the inlet water is not being filtered.
These days, thanks to computer-controlled heaters, you can now control the temperature level of the water. It will provide you with a steady water temperature even if you increase or decrease the flow of water. Even with the advantage of computer-controlled heaters, this can still sometimes be unreliable due to factors such as water pressure and gas pressure. Since they are digital, they often rely on electricity which is why they will not work during power outages. Manual controls on the other hand are by far still the most reliable. The main problem with manual controls however, is that you constantly need to regulate the temperature should there be a sudden increase or decrease in the flow of water.
Picking the right type of tankless gas water heater is not as easy as it may seem, especially when you try to consider the required piping and ventilation. Before purchasing a tankless gas water heating system, it is suggested that you consult a qualified plumber first before making any decisions. The plumber will be able to advise you regarding what brands he is familiar with and is able to service, which brands are reliable, which brands are good, and which brands can fit your budget. The plumber will also be able to advise you, based on the size of your home, whether you will need small electric tankless water heaters which can be placed near the point of use to increase the temperature of the water, depending on the heating requirement. Using both gas and electric water heaters in conjunction may in fact serve as leverage in helping increase the efficiency of your main water heater, which of course would be the tankless gas water heater. In fact, this tandem can even be more economical than using a 40-gallon tank water heater.