Point of Use Water Heaters - POU Buying Guide and Top Models

In recent years, the demand for water heaters across the U.S. and Canada has gained a lot of tractions. Point of use (POU) electric water heaters seem to be the solution for many due to its inherent benefits. They instantly heat water and with a convenient location, shorten water delivery time, helping you save time, energy, water, and money while increasing the comfort level and overall satisfaction.

If you take a closer look at the POU electric water heaters market, you would be greeted with several brands and models that can even throw you into a state of confusion. We understand the challenges buyers pass through when they are looking to purchase the best water heating system for their homes and offices. And that is why we created this post to help you make an informed buying decision.

But before we dive deeper, let’s take a look at what POU electric water heaters are, their features, advantages, and disadvantages, and compare the different types that are on the market.

Highlights

What are POU electric water heaters?

POU water heater

Point of use electric water heaters are small and portable devices designed to instantly produce hot water where there is limited space and hot water needed at the point of use. They are designed as tankless or tank-type. Due to its small size and heating elements/burners, they cannot be used to supply hot water to an entire building. You will need one large heater, either tankless or tank-type, and POU heaters for distant sinks or where you need water delivered fast.

They are also referred to as "under-sink water heaters" because they are often installed under the bathroom or kitchen sink – right where they are needed. They can be added to an existing system or used independently as a single unit.

POU electric water heaters are designed to serve low volume fixtures like lavatory sinks in garages, cottages, small apartments, as well as mobile and residential homes.

Here is how the POU system works: POU heaters with the storage tanks are similar to conventional tank-type heaters but are much simpler and usually have a smaller gas burner or one heating element.

The tankless models operate in the same manner as the big brothers; they bring in the cold water through the inlet tube into the heat exchanger. In a case of the electric models, one heating element heats the water to the temperature set on the thermostat. The hot water moves through the outlet for domestic or office use. The unit comprises of a thermostat, heat exchanger, fuse, control buttons, wire connections, safety cut out.

In addition to electric models, there are also gas tankless units, which use the gas valve, combustion chamber, and heat exchanger, together with the flue vents, electronic ignition, and PC board. Water is heated while it is passing through the heat exchanger.

When to consider POU water heaters

  • Distant sinks and remote bathrooms (when it takes too long for hot water to reach the tap from the central heater)
  • New home construction (if the higher efficiency cannot be achieved with any of the systems)
  • Old homes (if there an increased demand for hot water)
  • Demanding applications, such as the hot tubs (only if electricity is used for heating)
  • Where a small amount of hot water is needed (handwashing, for cleaning dishes, to brew a coffee or tea
  • To supplement an existing tankless or tank-type heater (electric, gas, solar)

Advantages of using POU electric water heaters

The following are the benefits of installing a POU electric water heater in your homes;

  • Reduces wait time: If you install a POU electric water heater in your home and at the source, it will help you reduce the wait time that is usually associated with a central heating system and long pipes. 
  • Saves money on gas and electricity: The money you would have expended on gas and electricity would be saved simply by installing a POU electric water heater in your kitchen or bathroom. Plus, POU units can help you save on water consumption.
  • This system can be used where retrofitting is impracticable or is too expensive.
  • Steady hot water flow: In large buildings, multiple POU electric water heaters can be installed in different locations to guarantee a steady supply of hot water instead of running pipes as with a central heating system.
  • Small POU heaters can be used in conjunction with storage tank-type heaters to reduce or eliminate the stand-by heat loss, even tankless, to minimize temperature fluctuation or “cold water sandwich” effect.
  • Temperature control: One of the greatest benefits of using this system is the ability to regulate water temperature on the spot.
  • Tankless models can deliver hot water in endless supply and on-demand.

* Environment friendly: POU tankless water heaters heat water where and when it is needed, reducing the carbon footprint. No more wasting energy between the tank heater and the tap.

Disadvantages

  • Point of use electric water heaters are not that great if the volume of hot water needed is high. 
  • The initial cost of installing multiple POU electric water heaters in your building is greater than a centralized heating system.
  • POU units cannot meet the demand for hot water if it is to be used as a backup for geothermal heat pumps and solar heating systems.

Features of POU units

Most of the POU electric water heaters you will find on the market are equipped with advanced components to increase its efficiency and performance, control the system automatically, and even saves on energy. They are also equipped with a heating element which transfers heat to the surrounding cold water. 

Some POU units come with tanks that are insulated with glass or ceramic to handle the corrosive effect of hot water. Plus, they are fully automated with the incorporation of a surface-mounted thermostat, which helps to regulate the hot water temperature. They are durable, portable, and are supplied with electrical cord to enable it to plug into a standard electrical outlet.

Comparing different types

There are two different types of POU electric water heaters;

  • Mini-storage tank type
  • Tankless types

The mini-storage tank-type POU electric water heaters are designed to handle about 2 to 30 gallons of water. While the tankless type is rated based on the volume of water, they can handle per minute. 

The tankless-type doesn’t have a storage tank to store water. Instead, they are designed with a heat exchanger to heat the cold water on-demand. This is not the case with the tank-type. The tank type POU units come with an insulated storage tank. An excellent example of a tank-type POU unit is the Ariston from Bosch. On the other hand, a good example of the tankless-type is the Tempra from Stiebel Eltron.

Review of the best selling POU electric water heaters

Bosch electric mini-tank water heater - Tronic 3000 T

If you need a POU electric water heater that delivers instant hot water on-demand and fast, then the Bosch electric mini-tank water heater from the Tronic series is a force to reckon with. It is one of the best-selling POU electric water heaters you will find on the market.

Tronic 3000 T is designed to supply a constant source of hot water for distant fixtures in your bathrooms, kitchens, and offices. It supports one sink; plus, it is easy to operate. All you need is to plug it into a standard 12V electrical outlet once it is hung on the wall or mounted on the floor.

Once operated, it will immediately transfer hot water for your use; instead of waiting for hot water, as in the case with a central heating system. The model is equipped with one 1440 W heating element that can achieve the maximum temperature of 145 F. It is automated, meaning, the thermostat will help you control the water temperature for your comfort. What’s more? It can produce hot water up to 98% efficiency. You won’t go wrong if you purchase and install this model in your building.

EcoSmart ECO 11

Another top-selling POU electric water heater you should give serious consideration is the EcoSmart Eco11 electric water heater. This model is small, compact, and guarantees an endless supply of hot water. From our research, we discovered that the EcoSmart Eco11 electric water heater could help you save up to 60% on your water heating cost and water consumption.

It is designed with a digital temperature control unit; thus, helping to keep the water temperature in check. The hot water temperature can be regulated between 80 and 140 F using the digital control unit. The casing is made of stainless steel and copper components. Plus, it can deliver hot water at 99.8% efficiency.  Due to its tankless nature, it can be installed above the sink, under the sink, on the wall, in the bathroom, kitchen, office, basement, RV, and garages.

Still, on this model, the minimum flow of water is 0.25 GPM, meaning that the only above that value will operate. It is easy to maintain, and the problem of corrosion does not arise since it is made with copper.

Stiebel Eltron Tempra

Do you need a constant supply of hot water in your bathroom and kitchen? Then put the Stiebel Eltron Tempra POU electric water heater on your shopping list when next you hit the market. The manufacturers are reputable when it comes to producing high quality and reliable heating systems. This model is designed with a heating element, a temperature controller, and a corrosion-resistant casing. The temperature controller will help you adjust the hot water temperature for domestic use.

It can be installed in your bathrooms, kitchen, or offices where the central heating system is not practicable. It can produce hot water with up to 99% efficiency. With the Stiebel Eltron Tempra POU electric water heater, your spending on electricity will drastically reduce. You won’t go wrong on this model because it is easy to install, maintain, and operate.

Summary

Point of use electric water heaters are mini and portable affordable devices that guarantee a fast, hot water delivery at the point of service either in homes or offices. Once you purchase any of the three models above, hot water would be delivered fast; thus, resulting in water, time, and space savings. 

What’s your experience with POU electric water heaters? Share your experiences with us using the comment box below.

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