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Instant VS Storage Water Heaters: Is One the Better Choice?

Everything you need to know about water heaters, made easy.

Unless you love cold showers, a water heater is a must in every home. But despite its straightforward purpose, finding the right one can be daunting to new homeowners – especially when there are different types of water heaters out there to choose from.

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Did you know? Some types of shower heads (e.g. rain showers) require specific types of water heaters to function as designed! Read on to find out more.

These days, water heater choices boil down to two main ones: the instant water heater, and the storage water heater. But how exactly do they differ, and is one a better choice than the other? Let’s take a closer look.

1. Price

Generally, one unit of an instant water heater tends to cost $50 to $150 less than that of a storage water heater (read: there are of course exceptions where the former can cost just as much). But it’s important to note that you’ll need one instant water heater unit for each bathroom – so in a typical 4-room BTO flat with 2 bathrooms, you’ll need at least two.

One unit of a storage water heater, on the other hand, may be able to serve more than one bathroom. Needless to say, those with higher storage capacity will naturally cost more than their smaller counterparts.

Verdict: Ultimately, retail prices shouldn’t be your main consideration, as other factors in this list would play a bigger role in determining the type of water heater you should get.

2. Size and aesthetics

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It’s no secret that homes in Singapore are getting smaller. As such, even wall-mounted appliances like water heaters, if not chosen correctly, can cause a tiny bathroom to look cluttered.

Storage water heaters naturally require a bulky build to accommodate a tank. In contrast, instant water heaters come in smaller, compact sizes that don’t take up as much visual real estate as a storage water heater.

Verdict: Instant water heaters are generally more visual-friendly as they tend to be smaller. However, if your heart is set on a storage water heater (for other reasons we’ll soon explore), keep an eye out for models that come with minimalist and modern designs.

3. Time needed to heat up water

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For instant heaters, how they work is in the name. They possess a heating element that quickly heats up water as it passes through – meaning that there’s little need to wait for the water to heat up to your desired temperature.

Conversely, storage water heaters take more time as they heat water in bulk – on average, this takes around 30 minutes. However, the more efficient models won’t take as long, as they tend to be fitted with high-quality heating elements and insulation layers.

Premium models, such as the Viessmann VITOWELL comfort Deluxe, can even be left on all day as the unit can be programmed to heat water at 2 fixed times while it remains idle at other times. That way, you don’t have to wait for the water to heat up after a long day at work, nor will you have to worry about electricity wastage.

Alternatively, if you find yourself returning home at different times each day, turn on the Double Power fast heating mode to reduce heating time by up to 40%!

Verdict: Instant water heaters – although storage water heaters (especially premium models) don’t take as long as they used to.

4. Consistency of water temperature

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As instant heaters heat up water on demand, the consistency of their water temperature can fluctuate. That’s especially the case on cold and rainy days (read: especially during the monsoon season), where incoming water temperatures are lower than normal.

On the flip side, storage heaters draw heated water from a tank of pre-heated water, and their output is therefore not affected by external factors like the temperature of incoming water.

Verdict: Storage water heaters are preferred if you are looking for a comfortable shower with hot water consistency. However, do note that certain brands such as Viessmann carry heaters (both instant and storage alike) that already come with temperature regulation capabilities, so this would already be taken care of.

5. Water pressure

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Nobody likes a shower with weak water pressure, and here’s a little-known fact: the type of water heater you use can actually determine how strong it is.

To deliver hot water on demand, instant heaters need to restrict the rate of water flow through their heating elements – and to do this, they reduce the pressure of the water from the main inlet, which then translates into weaker water pressure.

Storage water heaters don’t require such a system, as they simply heat up the water that is already within the tank. There's no need to restrict the flow of water from the main inlet, meaning stronger water pressure that’s ideal for massage jets or rain showers which have been increasingly popular among homeowners in Singapore.

Verdict: Storage water heaters.

6. Energy consumption

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As traditional storage heaters heat up large volumes of water at one time – and intermittently supply heat to maintain a certain temperature – they’ll require more juice.

Conversely, instant heaters only consume electricity when in use, making them the more energy-efficient type of the two.

That said, some storage heaters come with energy-efficient features/modes that help to bridge this gap.

Verdict: Instant water heaters generally tend to be more energy-efficient, but it also depends on the specific model you’re looking at, as well as usage habits (say, if you leave your storage heater on for longer than required).

7. Household size and lifestyle considerations

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For larger families (or those living in larger homes), going with a storage heater makes sense as one unit may be able to supply more than one bathroom.

However, the downside is that you may quickly deplete your supply of hot water, especially if two or more people take a shower at the same time. So, unless you get a storage water heater with a large capacity, using an instant heater may work better so that everyone gets as much hot water as they want.

Verdict: It ultimately depends on your household size as well as shower habits.

8. Ease of installation

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As mentioned earlier, most instant heaters can only connect and serve a single outlet at a time, meaning you’ll need to purchase multiple units if you have multiple bathrooms. But on the bright side, installing them is relatively straightforward as they don’t require additional piping.

For storage heaters, a single unit is usually enough to service more than one bathroom. The tricky part is in the installation, where your ID/contractor will require extra effort to lay the water piping to every usage point.

Verdict: For a fuss-free renovation, go with instant water heaters.

Important safety note: While water heaters in Singapore are generally safe as they undergo stringent testing before they can be sold, proper installation is crucial in avoiding electric shocks, explosions and fires!

So, should you get an instant or storage water heater?

Choose an instant water heater if:Choose a storage water heater if
  • You want to avoid hot water shortages in your household
  • You prefer not to wait for heated water
  • You prefer a fuss-free renovation that’s less costly
  • You intend to install rain showers and/or massage jets
  • You or someone in your household is sensitive to water temperature changes
  • You’re willing to spend more on your renovation

Instant or storage water heater, Viessmann is the premium choice for you

Regardless of whether you choose an instant or storage water heater, Viessmann’s state-of-the-art water heaters come with a plethora of useful, intelligent features that will suit any modern Singaporean family:

Instant water heaters – the VITOWELL easy Series

  • Consistent temperature control
  • Scalding protection: automatically shuts off the heating element as soon as water reaches 55ºC
  • Sleek compact build that’s perfect for small homes
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Storage water heaters – the VITOWELL comfort Series

  • Storage capacities of up to 30L
  • Trademarked Ceratech Technology enamel coating formula and high-quality ABS material for utmost durability and minimal maintenance

All of Viessmann’s water heaters are CE-marked – which is a European certification that is only given to products that meet strict safety, health, and environmental requirements.

Viessmann professionals are also available for advice on certified installations, and requests can be made via their contact form or WhatsApp at +65 80280468. So, rest assured that you and your family can enjoy the comforts of heated water, with total peace of mind for years to come!

Promotions not to be missed!

Check out special promotions and special 11.11 deals at Viessmann's official store on LazMall.

Plus, from now till 31 Dec 2022, Qanvast users will receive a free S6-T tap water filter (worth $79) with any purchase of Viessmann storage water heaters. Simply message Viessmann on Lazada with the promo code ‘QanvastS6FOC’ to claim this deal.

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