Under-sink electric water heater

I’ve never liked electric hot water heaters, since a lot of energy is lost in transmission from the generating source. Propane or natural gas provides heat right at the source and seems a better choice. And of course, solar is king, if you’ve got it together. I have a solar-heated outdoor shower, but haven’t got around to solar-heating all household water. I’ve made an exception to electric water heating with this little 2-1/2 gallon hot water heater that goes under the sink of our office kitchen. It has a switch that I turn on for maybe an hour, then turn off. The water temperature can be set with the thermostat. The tank is well insulated, so it stays hot for hours. It seems a very efficient use of electricity.

In the house, we’ve had a 5 gallon electric water heater under the kitchen sink for about 15 years. It’s minimal in electric power usage, and doesn’t waste water getting from cold to hot (in pipes coming from a more distant water heater).

And yes, I’ve got to get more of our water heated by the sun. It’s on my list of things to do, honest.


About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

2 Responses to Under-sink electric water heater

  1. I would still have this little heater as a back-up even if you went to solar water heating..for those dark, wet and clod days in Marin.

  2. People really have different preferences with things, especially with appliances. A lot of new solar-powered heaters are have been developed and there are lots more to come. This is the fruit of the increased awareness of people regarding energy efficiency and the deteriorating state of our environment.

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