Winter is knocking at our doorstep and the need for the quick supply of hot water will be very important in most regions of the country. Electric water heaters are easy, safe and more convenient to use compared to other water heating devices like an immersion rod, for example. These water heaters cost less than gas-powered water heaters, it saves money on price, operation and even installation. Electric water heaters even last long and save energy compared to other alternative options. These water heaters are also known as geysers and here are some of the things you should consider before buying one for your home.
How does a geyser work?
Electric water heaters are mainly made of three components likely — heating element, thermostat and storage tank. The heating element is the most important component of any electric water heater. One should always consider the heating element before buying a geyser as very hard or soft water damages both the heating elements and the inner tank. Heating elements coated with glass lining are very effective in preventing scaling which increases the lifespan of the appliance.
The storage tank holds the hot water, so it needs to be strong and corrosion resistant. There are two types of storage tanks available — Stainless steel storage tanks and Vitreous Enamel glass coated storage tanks. The stainless steel ones are getting obsolete as they get corroded from hard water scaling. The latter ones are new and advanced models in geyser technology. These are basically the same stainless steel tanks coated with advanced polymers to make it corrosion proof and prevent hard water scaling. Glassline coating is also very similar to the Vitreous Enamel coating.
The thermostat present in any geyser works as the operating system of the appliance that helps it in deciding when to start and stop the heating of the water. Usually, a bimetallic strip is used to transform temperature change into mechanical displacement. The bimetallic strip is commonly made of steel and copper. Thermostat is attached on this strip that takes the decision based on the response of the bimetallic strip. A good thermostat ensures protection from the water getting overheated. It also helps in reducing power consumption to some extent. It doesn’t mean you can leave your geyser on if your water heater has a thermostat
When you switch on your geyser and let’s say the water is at 20 degrees Celsius, the thermostat will ask the heating element to start heating the water. When the water’s temperature reaches 60 degrees Celsius, the thermostat asks the heating element to stop heating the water anymore. If you forget to switch off the geyser for a couple of hours, the temperature of the water drops down to 29 degree Celsius and the thermostat asks the heating element to start heating the water again. This whole thing goes on in a loop until you finally switch off the geyser.
Keep your faith only on trusted brands
A very important decision before buying a geyser is buying a geyser from a trusted brand. Branded water heaters offer warranty, safety and customer support. The unbranded ones may seem cheaper but it won’t meet the required standards and might be unsafe as well. Always go for geysers where the material used in the storage tank and the energy efficiency rating is disclosed. Make sure the geyser you are buying comes with an ISI mark if you don’t want to spend a fortune on geyser maintenance.
Types of geysers available
There are two main types of electric water heaters available in our country — instant water heaters and storage water heaters. The difference between the two is explained below
These appliances take up a small space on the wall and users can access hot water immediately on switching on the geyser. It’s not very convenient during baths as it can release less amount of water in a single heating and users might have to wait for more water once that amount is exhausted. Most instant geysers have a capacity of 10 litres and it costs a bit more than the storage ones.It is considered to have less water heating cost as the hot water is used immediately and it is apt for washing kitchen utensils, wash basins and for bathing using buckets. The absence of the water storage tanks in these geysers increases its lifespan.
These appliances usually take up a lot of wall space and in this case the users have to wait for a while before hot water is dispensed. This waiting time helps the geyser to store large amounts of water where users don’t need to reheat the water in the middle of taking a bath. It costs less than instant water heaters but has a higher heating cost as hot water is used after some time.These geysers are more suitable for bathroom usage and range from 6 to 35 litres. The lifespan on these heaters are considered lower than the instant water heaters.
Size of geyser
Another important factor to keep in mind before buying a geyser is the size of the geyser that your family needs. The best size should be near the hot water volume required at once. Ideal geyser sizes produce adequate amounts of water for immediate usage, but it’s always wise to calculate the size of the geyser your family needs.
For a small family with 2-3 members, a 6-litre instant geyser or a 10 to 15-litre storage geyser is required for baths using a bucket. If you are using the shower for your baths, you will need a 25 litre storage geyser, whereas, a 1 to 3-litre instant geyser will suffice for the kitchen utensils and wash basin needs.
If you have a bigger family with 4-8 members you will need a 25-litre storage geyser even if you’re taking a bath using a bucket. On the other hand, a 6-litre instant geyser will be enough for the kitchen utensils and wash basin needs.
Shapes of geysers
Vertical geysers are the most popular ones that are present in Indian households. The horizontally mounted geysers are new to the market and are really helpful in saving vertical wall space. If the bathroom ceiling is low, these horizontal geysers are a perfect fit for these situations.
The amount of time needed by the geyser to heat the water is dependent on the geyser wattage. Instant geysers have high wattage (like 4.5 KW) to heat water immediately while storage geysers have lower wattage (2 KW). In some cases, 4.5 KW instant geysers save electricity by heating only the required amount of water and stopping hot water wastage.
Geyser for hard water
Hard water is one of the main reasons for the lifespan of the geysers being reduced. To avoid this issue the best option is to go for a corrosion resistant storage tank like Vitreous Enamel storage tank geyser. If you want to save the heating element from hard water you can use a water softener. The water input goes into the water softener and the softener output goes as input to the water heater. The softener transforms the hard water into soft water to reduce the risks of the geyser issues.
Geysers for high rise buildings
If you live in a high rise building a geyser with a strong storage tank is the best option to go with, depending on the capacity of the floors of the building. These geysers must have a minimum rated pressure of more than 6 bars and must also have a pressure control valve. These valves release over pressured water in case of getting a lot of water pressure on the tank to avoid tank breakage. Glass-lined coated storage tanks are also suitable as they resist high pressures.
These appliances do not require any electricity and can heat water for the whole family. The initial investment is very high but the payoff is noticed in the long run. But, users in our country will need more time to shift to solar geysers as an economical option as they are not suitable for large apartments.
It is advisable to avoid local plumbers for geyser installation as they usually don’t follow the safety guidelines properly. Always install the appliances with the help of an authorised service centre. However, most brands provide the installation service and you will need a few additional things for the installation which includes — two steel ribbed pipes, one connection nipple, one angle valve brass and other things.
Making your geyser smart
The advent of IoT or home automation startups, it is now possible to get hot water as soon as you wake up from bed in the morning. Geysers these days can be controlled from smartphones, all you need is a smart plug to set daily schedules to turn the heater ON/OFF automatically.
Reducing geyser electricity consumption
One should always check the BEE star ratings before buying a geyser and must also go for the best rated ones as there are a lot of ways for the geyser to waste energy unnecessarily.
Standing loss — There are times when the geyser loses heat through its surface. This loss of heat is also known as standing loss.
Amount of used hot water — This is a huge motivating factor for the geyser’s electricity usage. You will be using more power as you utilise more hot water.
Geyser thermostat temperature — This is a default setting found in most geysers where the mark is commonly set at 60 degrees Celsius. Yet, there are some geysers that have external controls to customise this setting.
Bathing water temperature — The electricity consumed by your geyser also depends on the temperature of the water you used for bathing and which is usually very different from the temperature of the thermostat.
Input water temperature — This thing depends totally on the temperature of the surrounding location. Areas with colder weather need more electricity than places that have higher temperatures.