This was not our first choice. Our first choice was the AOSmith Gen 6 digital water heater, which neighbours in our BTO’s Telegram group chat were eager to recommend.
The Gen 6 boasts features such as almost-instant heating and a digital panel from which you can set a timer. As it turned out, the Gen 6 was too large to fit on top of the door at our common bathroom — the alternative proposed by AOSmith was to ceiling mount the water heater and have it placed above the toilet bowl. The pricier Gen 8 was proposed as another alternative, but we weren’t too enthused about paying upwards of $1,000 just for a water heater.
We therefore explored other brands and narrowed down our selection to Rheem’s EHG Slim Wifi Classic heater, which had Wi-Fi functionality, and the no-frills Ariston Pro1 R Inox Slim which had a stainless steel tank. In the end, we opted for the Ariston and paired it with the Mowe WIFI Smart Heater Switch Rocker.
If you’ve done your research on Ariston storage heaters, you would no doubt have come across reports of such storage heaters leaking or corroding after a few years. Apparently, this issue happens if the sacrificial anode (which, by the way, is supposed to be replaced every few years or so, although this does not seem to be commonly practised in Singapore) has corroded and the steel tank rusts. Based on my discussion with the Gain City salesman I spoke to, this was more common on Ariston’s range of stylish-looking Andris smart water heaters.
The Pro1 R Inox Slim is a different beast altogether. For one, with its cylinder design, it definitely doesn’t look as sleek as the Andris. However, its design is rather practical for my use case — the pipes are connected to either side of the tank instead of from the bottom — a feature which I needed in my particular situation. More importantly, it features a stainless steel tank, which should help in preventing the corrosion issues found in other Ariston storage heaters.
It’s also a “dumb” water heater which no additional functions except for a dial on the side to set your desired temperature. And that’s where the Mowe WIFI heater switch comes in. There are actually alternatives available on Taobao, but when it comes to high-powered electrical items, I preferred something that is available locally. The Mowe seems to be the only available such option. Although it does not boast a Safety Mark (apparently there is no requirement for it, or at least that it what some vendors claim), it is curiously affixed with a Cybersecurity label. At $65 a piece, the combined cost of the Ariston water heater plus the smart switch still costs less than the price of an AOSmith Gen 6 water heater.
Setting up the Mowe switch
The Mowe switch was installed for me by my electrician without any issue (it requires live and neutral wires, which should already be available for a water heater switch.
There are two variants of the Wi-Fi switch. The rocker version is what I have installed and is blends in really nicely with my other “dumb” switches. It works via toggle (i.e., it springs back to its original position) and has a really nice feel to it. The other variant has touch controls which I am not a fan of.
The switch works as intended out-of-the-box even if you have not configured it’s smart features. Toggle once and the light turns on. Toggle again and the light turns off.
Pairing the smart switch is also very simple. While the user manual tells you to download the iAppliances app, I found that the Smart Life app (which I am also using for my PO Eco fans) works as well. To pair, I just had to press and hold the switch while placing it close to my phone. Within the Smart Life app, the switch should be automatically detected (or you can choose to add the switch manually). As with many IoT devices, the switch only works on the 2.4GHz wireless spectrum. In my case, my router supports the use of guest networks and so I have catered a dedicated 2.4GHz SSID for my IoT devices, including this smart switch.
Within the Smart Life app, I can toggle the heater switch on and off, and also set scheduling options. Currently, I have set the heater to turn on and off automatically at 7.15am and 7.55am respectively. This ensures that we have hot water every time we take a shower before we go to work.
So far, so good
For a family of two, the water heater (we got the 40L version) is sufficient even if both showers are being used at the same time for an average of 10-15 minutes. Typically, except on very cold days, heating up the water once in the morning is already sufficient for an evening shower. To supplement this, what I normally do is to turn on the heater a few minutes before someone takes a shower. This should allow the water to be warmed up that little bit more to ensure longer flow of hot water.
Overall, while I was initially concerned about running out of hot water when showering, this has been a non-issue in practice, even during long showers. The reason is simple — as long as you heat the tank at regular intervals (e.g., once a day), the insulated tank should already keep the water warm, and so you do not need to wait that long for hot water to flow, if at all. Further, the temperature in the tank goes up to 70 degrees Celcius at the hottest setting (the thermostat kicks in to switch off the heater automatically after this temperature is reached). As normal showering temperature hovers at around 38 degrees Celcius, you are not actually using all the water in the tank at once — but rather mixing it with water from the “cold” water tap.
Priced at around $350 (or less) for the 40L version, the Ariston Pro1 R Inox Slim is good value for money in my opinion.