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Electric water heater for shower. Copper or Plastic?


srowndedbyh2o
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Looking into getting an electric hot water heater for the shower. At one store we were in, the sales person asked what our water source is. We get our water from our well. The sales person said that with well water it’s best to get a heater that has the plastic ‘chamber’ rather than a copper one. Out of several stores we went into, only that one store mentioned this. When we asked at other stores we were told it does not matter. I know our well water is very high in mineral content.

Copper or Plastic?

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For normal city water supply, the copper would be preferred for longevity.

But for well water, plastic would be a better choice, to eliminate possible corrosion later. (I personally have both types of water, and this has been my preferred method for many many years)..

 

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Two months ago I installed a water heater with a plastic 'chamber.'

 

Two days ago I replaced it with a unit that has copper because the plastic chamber melted, springing a leak. 

 

The unit I  bought at Home Pro came with a free water filter that attached to the water heater.

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Copper.

If your well water is high in minerals such as sulphur, organic salts, or iron then 'plaque' buildup is not uncommon throughout the entire system no matter what pipes or tank you use.

We have copper in all our pipe and tank system ... we also have a top-grade water filtration system before water enters the heaters or any taps so mineral (or bacterial) load isn't a problem for us.

Melting is an issue as mentioned (especially if the systems is not installed correctly e.g. wrong diameter piping which restricts water flow) at correct specs, and if the thermostat is set too high.

The horrible taste of plastic in the water (despite it supposedly being stabilised so as not to 'leech' like that) is another yucky thing.

Copper all the way every time. Costs more but ...

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Definitely copper, especially if you use household filtering system. 
personally I don't care about the life span since the water is well water. I rather less issues during the life time. 

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IMO it would be extremely rare for well water to be so acidic it would corrode copper. Any steel in the circuit would be rusting first. Far more likely for scaling to occur.

Plastic is not as durable as copper, you get what you pay for.

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We have had our "cheepo" plastic tank Panasonic (1450 baht at the time) for 7 years in our well water house.....no problems.

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2 hours ago, unheard said:

@srowndedbyh2o

"Copper or Plastic?"

 

Wrong question.

Go with the highest quality brand specializing in water heaters.

Those would be Stiebel Eltron and Bosch

OR Panasonic🤔

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3 hours ago, unheard said:

@srowndedbyh2o

"Copper or Plastic?"

 

Wrong question.

Go with the highest quality brand specializing in water heaters.

Those would be Stiebel Eltron and Bosch

yes correct Stiebel is Fairley pricy but fantastic machine good quality we have 2 never a problem and we use well water with a micron filter

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Most important of all can you trust thai electricians to install

the shower safely ,there are good ones but very hard to find(anyone know one please tell me).

I just had to have my old hot shower disconnected as it was live ,when it was checked with an electric meter.

Will stick to cold showers for now ☹️❄️☹️

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5 hours ago, srowndedbyh2o said:

Which is why I started this post. 🙂

My son got a job with HPro, 

Once day manager?  Said here is your apron assigned to electrical he had no clue as to a positive and negative?  Only training he got was if you don't know just Say " it doesn't matter " in between get on your phone and learning what you are selling. 

Now everyone know why they are in the corner on their phones. 

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Slightly off-topic but I just installed a 150L Stiebel Eltron water heater in my new house. It supplies hot water to three bathrooms with showers and basins, two kitchens, and a washing machine. Doing a great job.

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7 hours ago, unheard said:

@srowndedbyh2o

"Copper or Plastic?"

 

Wrong question.

Go with the highest quality brand specializing in water heaters.

Those would be Stiebel Eltron and Bosch

The price tag has nothing to do with quality or performance. I have had no problems over the last 20 years in multiple rental properties all fitted with a standard Panasonic water heater. The current ones are eight and 10 years old. I'm happy not having to pay more. 


 

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9 hours ago, JBChiangRai said:

I went next door to BigC and bought the cheapest one there (3.5Kw Sharp), I saw the guy wiring it up and it had a copper chamber.  It was 1,900 baht.

I like the Sharp water heaters and have installed several in my houses and in the houses/apartments of friends, with no problems whatsoever.

 

They have a copper tank with the appropriate flow and overload/overheating devices and I've never had a bit of trouble with any of them – – last one I bought about a month ago for a friend of mine was on special at 2200 baht as I recall.

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1 hour ago, Yme said:

The price tag has nothing to do with quality or performance.

Price?

Quality and performance derive from the manufacturer's expertise, money and effort  spent on design and development.

Stiebel Eltron mostly produces various water heaters - it's their core product.

Not just a consumer byproduct among many other consumer product lines, which is the case with most other brands.

And they're very competitive in the marketplace.

Panasonic water heaters are very good products. But really, their designs are pretty generic and mostly outdated, though quite pleasant aesthetically.

Panasonic don't seem to be willing to spend any considerable effort and money on updating their older designs.

I wouldn't call them the highest tier product.

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Well water, well what you know about your well water?

Is it dirty, are there solid particles in it? Is it acid and why it is acid or not? What acids are there in it.

Calcium gives scaling, same as solid parts and can be put on heater anytime. No matter plastic or copper.

Plastics used in these applications can stand the heat. Copper can be corroded, depending on what acids are in the water and temperature is also an important factor on corrosion. I cant say about the plastics they use, but i guess they can handle it better then copper.

My wifes well has a pH of 4, meaning acid. But not yet problem in heating, just shower cold.

Shouldnt be a problem with skin , as your skin would also be pH 4. So maybe even beter.

 

If there are many solid particles in the water, you can filter it with a standard filter and maybe after that filter it with an ion exchanger. A filter with resins in it. It cleans the water, but you have to regenerate from time to time.

Of course FIRST get solid parts out, otherwise your ion exchanger is filled with those and destroy your ion filter.

 

You have a well, so maybe there are papers of it, showing what is in it.

When my wife started with the well, it is by Thai law to be checked. They can shut down your well and you could be fined if you dont have those tests papers. So my wife did.

  

 

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14 minutes ago, xtrnuno41 said:

it is by Thai law to be checked. They can shut down your well and you could be fined if you dont have those tests papers.

In the sticks they don't need no stinking papers! 🙂

But seriously, it's always a great idea to lab test your well water - well worth the price even if not required!

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On 9/30/2022 at 8:58 AM, JBChiangRai said:

We just fitted one at a house in Chiang Mai for my daughters at university there.

 

The salesman in HomePro tried to upsell me to a one with a copper chamber over the cheaper plastic Chinese one.  I went next door to BigC and bought the cheapest one there (3.5Kw Sharp), I saw the guy wiring it up and it had a copper chamber.  It was 1,900 baht.

Homepro (same store), saw a nice desk lamp with cantliver operation. it was black colour. Asked several staff 'what colour do you have?', response 'see deow', basically meaning one colour / this colour only.

 

At same time I was looking at the boxed products in the shelves below. Item open and on display had a code number, I looked yes many boxes below with same code no. I opened one box, exact same lamp silver colour then red coulour white colour. Great customer servvice - basically just lazy and assumption that customers are stupid. 

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18 hours ago, unheard said:

In the sticks they don't need no stinking papers! 🙂

But seriously, it's always a great idea to lab test your well water - well worth the price even if not required!

According to my Thai wife's family, it is. So she did to prevent surprises, as fines and closing well.

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