Temperatures have been soaring since the rare cold spell in January, and temperatures are falling… on our home air-conditioners.
Ironically though, there is another home gadget that Singaporeans cannot do without, but this one is actually there to raise the temperature… of water. While we might lambast the heat, quite a number of homes cannot do without a water heater, as most folks still want to take a shower at a comfortable temperature.
My old Cornell water heaters in both bathrooms have been running well for the last 12 years, until the recent cold spell, when the temperature on one heater fluctuated across that week, delivering a mix of water that was sometimes too hot, or too cold. Rather than just changing one, in the hope that the other would still run perfectly, I decided to bite the bullet, and change both heaters at the same time.
In comes the Ariston series of Luxury water heaters. To be honest, they were not my first choice. Yes, they look sleek, and all come in a nice metallic outer shell that doesn’t automatically scream “cheap plastic”. But looks come at a premium, and did I really need to pay top dollar for what is basically something to heat up the water with?
Then the different models were explained to me. Available in either a round or rectangle shell, each model comes in two variants. The base model has a simple knob. Turn the knob to raise the temperature, and turn it down to lower it. Since not everyone in the household takes a hot shower at the same temperature, it is expected that the knob that regulates the temperature would be used quite often.
After all, that is what happened to my old heater. I shower with water at a certain temperature, which my daughter finds is a tad too warm for her, so some time is always spent tweaking the temperature before a shower, to ensure that the temperature is optimal to each user.
With the Ariston though, the higher end model comes with presets that enables users to store their desired temperature, and to call upon it with one touch of a button – there is no need to fidget, and waste water while trying to hit the right temperature.
Here’s another feature to consider. Depending on the actual outside temperature, which affects the temperature of the water flowing into the house, a heater simply heats up the water. But this is dependent on the water being at a base temperature. If the water is too cold, a normal heater won’t be able to detect its current temperature, and compensate. This leads to fluctuation in the temperature of the water.
This is more common when someone flushes the toilet, or turns on a tap, which in turn affects the water pressure of the pipes leading to the water heater. The lower volume of water running through the pipes, because of the flush, means that water coming out of the heater tends to be hotter for that few seconds. A few precious seconds that might cause your child to scream because the water is too hot.
The new heaters by Ariston come with a flow sensor that capable of measuring the temperature of the water flowing into the heater, together with the pressure that it is at, in order to adjust the heating element, thereby keeping the temperature of the water flowing out to remain unchanged during a bath, regardless of how much the water conditions change.
While there is no cold spell to test this out on, the feature does work because flushes in both my toilets no longer produce water that is too hot.
So the question is if it is better to get the square or round model. For the rectangle model, the ST33 (S$299) offers three temperature profiles, while the SMC33 (S$199) is the base model. With the round model, the RT33 (S$329) comes with three user profiles, while the RMC33 (S$249) is the base model.
It actually depends on the space you have, especially if you have a toilet with limited wall space, due to the existing layout. The rectangle model is 23cm wide, and 38.6cm tall, while the round model has a diameter of 35cm. I had initially planned to have the round one in one toilet, and the rectangle one in the other, but I ended up flipping it because the space in one toilet was too small to fit the wider round Ariston machine.
It’s been a month since I have had both heaters installed, and the experience has been a good one. The blue LED lights on the higher end models add a touch of class to the bathroom, not that it’s necessary, because all that matters is that the hot water that comes out is of a constant temperature.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Water heaters, like TVs and air conditioners, are items that you buy, and use for a long time. Instead of buying the cheapest, there’s a value in buying something more durable.