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A point of use (POU) water heater is a smaller and low capacity system designed to work and provide instant hot water nearer the application area. As such, hot water does not have to travel far from the heating source to the sink, shower, or other faucet.
The POU water heater helps to save space, waiting time, energy, and water. In practice, customers do not install the POUs in a central place like the storage-based or larger tankless systems. Instead, they locate the devices where they need hot water, such as near the shower, bath, or sink.
Other than this, some people use the POUs to boost the temperature of the water coming from another heater located a long way such that it will have lost some significant amount of heat by the time it reaches the user. Rather than increasing the temperature of the storage or tankless heater, the POU provides a more energy-efficient option since it will only boost the temperature of water in demand at that particular time.
Generally, POUs are suitable for single applications that do not require large volumes of hot water. Each of the units is installed near the low-volume fixture such as sinks, hand washing, and others in small apartments, single-family households, RVs, small apartments, etc. Generally, you can install them as new or individual units or retrofit them into an existing system.
Types of POU water heaters
Generally, the point of use water heaters falls into two categories;
- The mini-tank water heater can store between 2 and 30 gallons.
- A tankless water heater that does not have any storage and provides a continuous supply of hot water but at a low flow rate.
A tank-based heater is rated in terms of tank capacity and the tankless POU by the number of gallons per minute.
Is a POU water heater good for you?
When thinking about the decentralized point of use water heater system, you should first assess the cost and benefits. Typically, if you have a situation or application meeting the conditions below, decentralized water heating could be a good choice that would also help you save energy, water, and costs.
- Low daily hot water requirements of something like 30 gallons or less per day.
- You have a fixture that is far away from the others
- You want hot water in remote hot tubs and bathrooms
In these cases, connecting the fixtures to the central system may be too costly or impractical. It is also good to note that the point of use heater not suitable for applications that require large volumes of hot water.
For booster or inline applications, the POUs work fine with grid-powered water heaters; otherwise, they cannot heat a lot of water to support an entire household when solar or other renewable energy is unavailable.
Best point of use water heaters
Today, there are many types and models of point-of-use water heaters. These vary in performance, capacity, energy efficiency, and other features. As such, it is a challenge to find a suitable device without some professional guidance. For this reason, we have below, a list best POUs in the market.
Ecosmart POU 6 tankless water heater
The Ecosmart POU 6 is a compact and lightweight tankless water heater that is easy to install and use. It has a digital temperature display. The affordable heater, which is suitable for cold climates too, works comfortably with cold water of as low as 42 degrees F. It helps you to save water, energy, and time to wait for hot water. It also reduces the materials and installation costs associated with large storage-based systems.
Usually, the Ecosmart POU 6 output temperature depends on the flow rate of the incoming water. The 6KW, 240V water heater has stainless steel heat exchanger and brass and copper heating elements – that are resistant to corrosion hence long-lasting.
In practice, the Ecosmart POU will provide endless hot water for low-demanding applications such as hand washing, a single sink, bathrooms, recreation vehicles, etc. However, its 1.0 max GPM might not support some more demanding applications, such as sustaining a shower.
One drawback is that the installation requires some technical skills and could be a challenge to some people. As such, you should engage a licensed installer; otherwise, you will void the warranty.
Stiebel Eltron 233219 SHC 2.5 mini tank POU water heater
Stiebel Eltron SHC 2.5 is a reliable and efficient 1.3KW, 120V point of use water heater that mounts easily on the wall and comes with an electrical plug, so you do not need to hardwire. The POU is a water heater.
With a compact, lightweight, and sleek design, the 2.65-gallon mini-tank heater will fit in a wide range of spaces. It saves you the piping costs while the glass-lined standby tank minimizes heater losses. The heater also has a T&P valve to enhance safety and convenience.
You can install the SHC 2.5 as a point of use system to supply hot water to a sink or other application. Alternatively, you can use it as a booster in line with another central system.
A thermostat allows you to adjust the water temperature of the Stiebel SHC 2.5 heater from 86 to 140 degrees F. Also, the tank has polystyrene insulation to minimize heat losses hence improving the heating efficiency and performance.
Ecosmart ECO 2.5 Mini Tank Water Heater
The Ecosmart Eco mini 2.5 is a lightweight, sleek and compact 1.44KW, 120v water heater with a digital temperature display. It has high energy efficiency, of 99.8%, hence providing savings on your energy bills.
This is an easy-to-install device that does not require venting, a pump, or a lot of plumbing. It has an easy-to-adjust temperature range of 50-140F hence suitable for various applications that require different settings.
It comes with a power cable that plugs into a standard 120 Volts and does not require hand wiring. The mini-tank heater is suitable for homes, businesses, and RVs for either booster or POU applications.
It is a compact heater hence possible to install in tight places. It has a field replaceable heating element, and a glass-lined tank ensures a longer service life.
Its main drawback is that the water becomes cold faster.
Rheem RTEX 13 is a rugged, efficient, and compact tankless point of use water heater for commercial and residential applications. The RTEX 13 is an easy-to-install heater with user-friendly digital control. It also has a thermostat that allows you to adjust the temperature of the hot water.
Generally, the Rheem RTEX 13 can support a shower, dishwashing, or kitchen sink, but in some cases, only one at a time. However, the RTEX 13 is suitable for less demanding applications and works best as a point of use installed near the fixture.
Most often, the affordable, 13 KW, 240V 4GPM heater is suitable for one shower at a time. However, it will support dual showers or faucets provided they have low flow fixtures such as those with a maximum of 1.5 GPM.
Since it is ultra-compact, you can install it practically anywhere. Besides small size, the heater is also energy saving. It uses a self-modulating power control and other advanced heating technologies to achieve high (99.8%) energy efficiency.
Bosch ES8 Tronic 3000 T Electric water heater
The Bosch ES8 mini tank electric water heater is a compact and powerful POU unit suitable for a wide range of applications. It has a sleek and attractive design that blends well with most interiors. Additionally, the Bosch ES8 easily fits in small spaces, and you can install it under a kitchen sink or any suitable location so that it supplies hot water to your shower, dishwasher, or anywhere else you want it.
The energy-efficient, 7-gallon point of use electric heater with a 1.44KW element requires hand wiring to a 120 V AC supply. An external dial control allows you to adjust the water temperature to your preferred setting. The glass-lined interior ensures excellent insulation, corrosion resistance, and long service life.
However, it has a short 1-year warranty for the element, which might make maintenance expensive, especially if there’s heavy usage.
The point-of-use water heater is a compact device you install directly at the sink, shower, or another application area. It provides you with hot water the instant you need it – with only a few seconds of wait. In turn, you will save water since you do not have to wait for the cold water to run out first as you wait for it to get hot.
Customers should first identify their needs, such as where to install the POU water heaters, the amount of hot water they require at these points, and more.
Although some of these are DIY devices, it is best practice to engage professionals such as plumbers and electricians to ensure safety and optimal performance.