Tankless electric water heaters can be a great addition to your bathroom, specifically where the shower is concerned. Who doesn’t want a constant flow of hot water? If you manage your expectations and rely on professional installation, you can find quite a few great tankless water heaters.
Do You Even Need a Shower Tankless Electric Water Heater?
While having a dedicated water heater for your shower can sound like a great idea, it might not turn out exactly the way that you want it to. Tankless units specifically for showers can often have flow control issues, and some might not get the water hot enough for you. It’s based entirely on the temperature of your groundwater, so if you live in a colder climate, they aren’t going to work as well (if at all). Make sure you are aware of the maximum flow rate for the heater you choose.
These water heaters can also be costly to install. If you don’t install them yourself, professionals may ask for hundreds of dollars to do the correct wiring. And if you don’t have the right type of electrical lines or water lines, you might have to replace your entire electrical system just to get the heater to work.
While the units themselves might not be expensive, everything else might. You could increase energy savings, but you’ll be spending a lot to get them up and running.
If you do a self-installation, you could void the warranty, which will put you in a bad place if the unit fails soon after installation. Essentially, purchasing a tankless electric water heater for your shower comes with a lot of risks.
In a hurry? Here are the most important things to consider before choosing a tankless electric water heater for your shower.
- Choose a higher flow rate for better water pressure.
- Make sure it will fit in your bathroom.
- Know the temperature of your groundwater so you can choose a unit with the right temperature rise.
- Match the voltage, wattage, and breaker requirements to your home to avoid extra installation hassle.
- Spending between $150 and $250 will get you a high-quality unit
Shower Tankless Electric Water Heater Features and Options
There is a lot to consider when you’re purchasing a Shower Point of Use Tankless Electric Water Heater. Here are the most important things to keep in mind while you’re searching for your new appliance.
Flow rate is usually measured in gallons per minute (GPM). It represents how much hot water the unit can produce at a time. Because tankless water heaters heat water as it’s needed, only so much water can come out of it at a time.
Theoretically, a tankless heating system can give you gallons of hot water forever. However, the amount of water you get at once will vary based on the device. For example, you’re going to want a low flow rate of about 1.5-2.0 GPM for a normal shower. A dishwasher or other appliance can easily use 6 GPM or more.
A lower GPM will affect your water pressure and how your shower operates. The higher the GPM is, the better your shower will be in general. For endless hot water, make sure you choose the right flow rate for your incoming water needs.
The size of your bathroom can mean a lot when it comes to choosing the perfect shower point of use tankless water heater. These heaters will need to be installed on a wall or below the sink, so choose one that’s going to fit with the size of your current bathroom.
It’s important that the water heater has enough room for connections and venting. Though most electric tankless water heaters don’t require venting, they can get warm while they are on, so it’s not advisable to pile objects around the heater. Make sure that you have enough room. Besides having the room, you may also worry about aesthetics. Water heaters come in a variety of colors and materials, like stainless steel, to match with other appliances in your home.
The voltage of an electric appliance needs to be met in order for the unit to turn on at all. That means that when a tankless point of use water heater runs at 240 volts, for example, you need to match that with your electrical system to get any sort of performance.
This isn’t meant to be a way to compare tankless water heaters. On the contrary, knowing the voltage from your home and the requirement of the water heater will help you choose one that will work for you.
Wattage is a measurement of how powerful the unit is. A higher wattage is almost always better because it can keep up with the demand from your shower.
However, it’s important to note that the wattage (and even the voltage) does not guarantee a tankless water heater’s performance. These are mostly measures of what it takes to run a particular unit, and build quality and materials have more to do with how well a heater performs.
The energy factor or EF rating of a unit is meant to measure effectiveness. This value is calculated by determining the amount of hot water the unit will produce per unit of electricity.
The EF rating is presented as a decimal point. Larger numbers are better for energy efficiency, so you should choose something above an 0.90, or even above an 0.95.
Depending on where you live, your groundwater can be a range of temperatures. The temperature rise of a unit tells you how much the water heater can increase your groundwater temperature.
For example, let’s say that your groundwater is usually about 55 degrees. When you choose a unit with a 40-degree temperature rise, your showers will only warm up to 95 degrees. Keep your region in mind when choosing a point of use tankless water heater.
Some tankless water heaters are equipped with a digital temperature control panel that tells you what the temperature of your water is. Some even have digital settings or a way to change the temperature based on your application.
If you want control over the temperature of your water and other settings, choose a digital tankless water heater.
Most tankless water heaters don’t just plug into a wall. For the most part, they must be wired into your home’s electrical system differently because they need a lot of power to run.
Each unit will have a different requirement for the size and type of breaker that it requires. It’s important to know what type of breaker you have, as that can help you search for the tankless water heater that will work better for you.
Having a warranty on an expensive appliance can save you money in the long run. If the unit is installed correctly and stops working during normal use, it may be covered under warranty. That means that if the company finds the failure to be a manufacturing error or a mechanical error, they will replace the item at no additional cost (in most cases).
Make sure that you read the terms of your warranty very carefully and understand that certain installation types can void it. It’s better to choose a unit with a longer warranty.
What Do You Expect From a Shower?
Everyone has different preferences for their showers. This can be a huge factor when you’re considering the purchase of a tankless water heater for your shower.
If you want long, hot showers, nearly all of our recommended point of use tankless water heaters are up for the task.
If you enjoy very hot showers, choose a tankless water heater with a greater temperature rise. It’s also not a bad idea to choose one that is digital so that you know how hot your water is and can adjust it as you need.
If you enjoy a lot of water pressure, go with a water heater with a higher flow rate. While these are usually meant for multiple devices, using the heater with just the shower can improve your water pressure. Of course, this is also based on the showerhead that you use.
Do you want to conserve water? If you have an energy-efficient showerhead installed, you can choose a tankless water heater with a lower flow rate. There are also certain units that work better with eco-friendly showerheads, which we’ll list as we come to them.
Will You Be Installing It Yourself?
Installing a tankless water heater is a difficult process in itself. Whether you’re using one for your whole home or just for your shower or sink, it’s important that you know what you’re doing.
Each unit has its own required voltage, amperage, and wattage, not to mention different types and sizes of water lines. Whether or not you’re installing it yourself, it’s important to know these details about your home. You don’t want to spend a lot on a tankless water heater only to find out that you have to completely rewire your home.
However, if you’re installing the heater yourself, consider finding one that is easy to install and comes with a lot of the connections that you need. Otherwise, the process can be more difficult than it needs to be.
If you’re having a professional install the unit, realize that it might cost you. It depends on what the person you hire charges you, but sometimes it can get pricey. It is easier, though, and in most cases, it will be installed correctly.
How Much Do You Want to Pay?
Shower point of use tankless electric water heaters aren’t as expensive as their whole-house counterparts, but you still want to avoid paying too much.
You might not get the performance you want out of a water heater priced below $100, so purchase at your own risk. The sweet spot as far as price-point usually falls between $150-$250.
Paying more than $250 presents a bit of a risk. You could get a better quality unit, but perhaps the performance of a less expensive unit would be just as acceptable.