I love hot showers even in hot and humid Singapore. Do you? If yes, you would definitely at some point need to choose a water heater in Singapore. Read on to find out which type suits you the best.
1) Gas, Instant, Storage or Smart Technology Heater?
These heaters are only available from City Gas Singapore. So you can only purchase gas heater from them or to engage them for maintenance. And having dealt with them for the gas piping, their customer service level on phone and in person is zero.
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- Characteristics: Central heating capacity.
- Running Cost: Gas heater will help you save on your utilities because gas heaters used gas instead of electricity, and gas is cheaper. Gas heaters are battery operated and run on the building’s piped gas network.
- Size: Slim and compact.
- Potential Danger: There’s the constant worry of gas leaks. The heater has to be away from flammable objects and placed in a ventilated area. There might also be electricity spark / small flame, noise vibration and gas smell whenever the heater is used.
- Poor water pressure and inconsistent temperature: This happens with multiple users.
- Home Design Limitation: You’ll need to have the gas company come set it up and decide on the final placement of the heater – to pipe the heating system to your gas source (usually in the service yard). So you have to work your interior design around your gas heater.
- Inconvenience: Batteries must be changed bimonthly to ensure full performance of the heater.
The only brand for instant heater I know offhand is 707. It seems like the brand is widely used and reliable.
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- Running Cost: Economically comparable to gas heater. Instant heater’s utilities bill is cheaper than storage heater for short showers. If it’s long, the instant heater bill might be higher than storage.
- Size: It is small and compact.
- Characteristics: You get hot water instantaneously as you switch on the heater.
- Multiple heaters required: It’s only one heater to one water point. This means you have to install instant heater in every bathroom. And because it’s not a central heating unit, you wouldn’t be able to run hot water to your kitchen or wash basins.
- Home Design Limitation: The instant heater will be placed inside the toilet and usually near the shower heads. It can be aesthetically unpleasant.
- Weak water pressure: I have used instant heater before and I don’t like the weak water pressure. Not shiok enough! 😛 And we are also going to install a rain shower head, so this would not work for us.
50L Joven Storage Heater.
- Characteristics: Central heating capacity.
- Strong water pressure: I have used storage heater before and I love the strong water pressure. Also, the water temperature is satisfyingly hot, though there might be a slight drop of temperature with two users for a 25L storage heater.
- Storage of hot water: Once you have heated up the whole tank and not finish using it, the unused hot water will be stored for later use.
- Choices: You get to choose from a variety of brands. You can also place the water tank almost anywhere in the house (where there’s space) – usually in the common bathroom or service yard. Less limitations of placement compared to gas or instant heater.
- Running Cost: More expensive than instant and gas heater.
- Size: It is bulky, especially for higher capacities.
- Waiting time: You have to wait about 5 minutes for hot water after the heater is switched on.
- Water tank Limitations: The hot water available for use is limited to the capacity of the water tank. And if you do heat up the whole tank and not finish using it, there will be standby heat loss from the hot water in the tank.
Smart Technology: Water Heat Pumps
I came across this company, A.O. Smith (“AOS”) which I believed is not as widely used in Singapore. There are not many reviews about them in Singapore. They have two water heaters that I don’t often hear people installing: Water heat pumps and digital heater.
- Running Cost: A heat pump saves about over 75% of energy, which means a lower electricity bill. That’s because it works like an air conditioner but in “reverse”. It absorbs the surrounding warm air to heat up the water. Since there’s no winter (surrounding cold air) in Singapore, it is very energy efficient. The heat pumps work as long as it is 15 degrees Celsius and above.
- Upfront Cost: However, if you have fewer than 4 people in the house, it might be too expensive (60L: S$2,000+) for your needs. You can get an ROI comparison from AOS to have a better idea. In this case, AOS recommends the digital heaters.
Green Technology: Digital Heater
- Running Cost: Digital heater generates twice as much hot water as compared to regular storage heater. It also has a digital timer to ensure your water heater goes into energy saving mode when not in use. Using temperature controls, you can easily program your water heater to save up to 40% of energy.
- Waiting Time: No wait time for water to heat up.
- Green Technology: One thing I like about a digital heater is that it comes with a temperature indicator. The panel will have red, yellow and green indicators to indicate how much hot water you still have in your tank. For example, you can shower immediately if you have at least 3 red bars of hot water.
- Upfront cost: The purchase cost (40L: $600+) is more expensive than gas, instant or storage heaters. Possible additional cost if installed in service yard. They have group buy discounts though.
- Negative online reviews: Can’t find any from Singapore, but the reviews from the US are not very positive – www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/ao_smith.html.
If you still want to go ahead with digital heater, do get the right model for your house. Their ‘Horizontal’ model is more suited for BTO, while ‘Mini’ model is more for condos, landed houses or toilets with bathtubs. One good thing about AOS is that the customer service has a relatively fast response time – you can give them a call, drop a facebook message or send a message through their website.
I love long and hot showers with great water pressure. Storage heater seems to fit the bill. Also, it’s more suitable for a rain shower. Hence I am willing to overlook storage heater’s cons.
If I have the cash, I might try out the digital heater and make my house a step closer to a smart home. My hubby and I like the digital because of the indicator panel and possible energy savings. But for now, we are not willing to pay a higher upfront cost (almost double from storage heater) for long term savings since our household is still small. Probably would be more cost efficient if there are more than 3 people staying in the house.
2) Storage Heater – Brand and Capacity?
These are a few commonly used brands: Joven, Cornell, Ariston, Rinnai and Rheem. We were deciding between Joven and Ariston and went with Joven in the end. I gathered that Joven is a good storage heater from renotalk, in terms of heating coil and reliability. But then again, there are also supporters for Ariston outside of renotalk. You can also try asking the salesperson for advice.
We are getting the 35L Joven storage heater because 25L is not enough sometimes. For 25L, I usually have to rush through my shower with about 8 minutes worth of hot water, especially so if someone else is bathing in the other bathroom!
If we are getting A.O. Smith digital heater, it will be 40L. According to www.aosbath.com/sizing-your-water-heater, 30L is suited for 1-2 people whereas a 40L will be good for 2 to 3 people.
This is a summary of factors to consider:
- Up-front purchase cost
- Running cost (utilities bill)
- Size (capacity and actual size)
- Energy efficiency
- Standby heat loss
- Water pressure
- Temperature consistency
- Shower and kitchen access points
- Multiple users capability
- Backup system
- Placement of heaters: Common bathroom or Service Yard?
Which type and brand of heater are you getting? Or which one have you used before and would like to recommend or diss? Share with us in the comments section below. 🙂