5 Best Electric Tankless Water Heaters for Cold 2021 Climate

Do you live somewhere cold in the northern part? If so, you most likely need to purchase the best electric tankless water heater for the cold climate. Your tankless water heater should be designed to meet the demand of hgiher temperature rise, which, in other words, offers you hot water that never runs out even in the cold climates.

Selecting the best electric tankless water heater for cold climates is nothing like selecting a heater for a warm climate. Cold temperatures bring catastrophic harm to a heater if lacking the necessary protective system.

In this post, there are buying guides that offer tips to help choose the best electric tankless water heaters, and the top picks for electric tankless water heater for cold climates.

What Is the Best Electric Tankless Water Heater For Cold Climates?

Top 5 Best Electric Tankless Water Heater for Cold Climates

How to Pick the Best Electric Tankless Water Heater for Cold Climates?

It is never a wise decision to choose a electric tankless water heater casually, you do not want to waste your money and time purchasing a heater with poor performance especially when you live in a cold climate. Here we offer some vital tips to help when selecting your electric tankless water heater.

1. Size

When sizing a instant water heater the main things you need to know are the temperature rise and flow rate. The flow rate is easy to understand, referring to the amount of hot water needed. The temperature rise means the difference between the set temperature and that of output groundwater. Normally the more heating devices you run, the higher flow rate and temperature rise you need.

For example, the ideal flow rate for a shower is 3 gallons per minute, for one water sink it is 1.5 gallons per minute. Then when you attempt to run one shower and two faucets at the same time, the proper flow rate should be no less than 6 gallons per minute. The ideal temperature rise equals the gap between the set temperature and output groundwater. Let’s say the set temperature is 120 degrees F, output groundwater temperature is 60 degrees F, then the desired temperature should be 60 degrees F.

That is the calculation of the heater’s size in warm regions. For colder regions, you will find your water temperature drops 1-2 degrees F, which is a normal phenomenon, you should take this into consideration when doing your calculation for size of heater needed. Below is the sizing map of America as a reference:

tankless water heater size

2. Usages

Many models and specifications for instant hot water heaters are made to meet various demands, some are suitable for indoor use, some are ideal for outdoor travel use. Some are ideal for washing hands and dishes, while some can be supportive enough on providing constant hot water for multiple showers in a larger home.

If you are using the heater for shower use, especially for a family of 3-4 people, then a higher flow would be a good choice. For under sink or water faucet you would only need a point of use type with a lower flow rate but still being capable of providing constant hot water.

3. Installation spots

It is vital to make the installation spots of a heater a good fit. Figuring out whether it is designed for indoor or outdoor installation. The natural gas or propane tankless water heater will need venting facilities to emit fumes if installing it indoors. Electric models free you from needing plumbing and venting.

That is why most of the electric tankless water heaters for the shower are indoor installation, especially for those using in cold regions. Its compact shape requires no space, thus sparing more wall space for other uses or decorations you want there. More importantly, the indoor temperature is far warmer than outdoors, and the indoor environment protects the heater from being corroded by the harsher weather conditions of the outdoors.

4. Protection system

Most of the tankless water heaters for cold climates are gas or propane types, why? They have a higher flow rate and is more powerful than the electric types for whole house use, thus has little affection for the water temperature. Besides, the majority of gas instant hot water heaters are equipped with protective systems, such as freeze protection and auto-shutoff device, in the aim of protecting the heater from burning out or being damaged by the severe outdoor environment.

As for electric tankless water heaters, there are also protective systems on the safety issues, choose those with a protective system to prolong the lifespan of your heater.

Best Electric Tankless Water Heater for Cold Climates Reviews

1. Overall Best PickRheem 240V Heating Chamber

large power electric tankless water heater



【Large flow rate】

If you own a large home with three or even four bathrooms, then this electric tankless water heater is the perfect one for you. It supports multiple showers and water sinks in use at the same time. Even in cold climes its stable working performance enables it to provide constant hot water for multiple hot water uses.

【External temperature display】

The water temperature shows on the display panel, with easy-to-operate buttons for adjusting the heat based on your needs. Advanced self-modulating technology is applied for adjusting power automatically, thus reducing the standby loss and energy costs.

【Simple installation】

Installing the machine is quite simple and straightforward. The durable copper immersion heating elements, as well as the whole-steel design, allows you to use it for a long time. Unlike natural gas type, it requires less maintenance, thus the operating costs are pretty low.

2. Runner UpStiebel Eltron 240V Tankless Electric Water Heater

electric tankless water heater



【Superior performance】

For higher flow rate and power support for the whole house use even in the cold climate. The totally silent operation brings back the soothing time in bathing. Plus, the German-design keeps it a leading position in the industry.

【Compact shape】

The compact shape with classic grey color design adds up home decoration while sparing space for other gear. Install it right inside your home, there is no need for venting facilities. The control panel shows the exact water temperature and adjusting the temperature is easy and straightforward.

【Advanced technology equipped】

For each unit of the Tempra series, this model is applied with electronic control to save energy and prolong the life span. It heats water only when needed, guaranteeing less standby loss of the heat.

3. Best Point of Use Tankless Water Heater for Cold ClimateEcotouch Digital Display Heater

electric tankless water heater



【Safe in use】

Multiple protection guarantees safety in use. To prolong the lifespan of the heater, the inner water and electricity lines run separately so that no water runs through the interior steel material. In terms of the qualifications, it approves the ETL and UL, which guarantees its long service life of nearly ten years.

【Remote control】

Getting sick of adjusting the temperature by going near the heater every time in use? This heater comes with remote control, so you can turn the heater on and off by the controller. The digital panel set on the machine shows the exact water temperature as well as the error codes.

【Cheap price】

A cheap price does not always mean the product is bad, at least not when it comes to this heater. It goes for around $100, but the overall performance exceeds the middle-price heater even. The maximum temperature it supports is 116 degrees F, the no tank design shortens the waiting time for hot water.

4. Best Modern Electric Water HeaterStiebel Eltron 29 Plus Tempra Tankless Water Heater

electric water heater for cold climate



【Sleek design】

The most attractive point of this machine is its sleek design. The heaters white appearance suits any home decor and you can easily find a spot for installation.

【Heavy-duty material】

The solid copper heating chambers guarantee the quality level as well as the long service life of the heater. German-design brings a totally silent working condition in use. The stable hot water supply is unaffected by cold weather, making it an ideal option for cold climate use.

【Smart technology】

Apart from the self-modulating technology that adjusts water temperature and flow rate based on the demand, there is also preset design. The memory button allows you preset water temperature based on your habits, so as to solve the problem of adjusting the suitable water temperature every time you use the heater.

5. Best for Small Apartment EcoSmart ECO 11 Electric Tankless Water Heater

tankless water heater for cold climate



【Self-modulating technology】

Equipped with self-modulating technology, this heater is capable of providing stable and constant hot water for you. It auto-adjusts the energy input with the aim of ensuring optimal water heating. The traditional small compact design allows you to put it in any corner around the house.

【Energy efficient】

By turning on the heater only when you use it, this heater saves half of the energy costs per month. Unlike natural gas water heater, there is no need to add venting.. Thanks to its brilliant performance, the standby loss is sharply reduced.

【Easy to operate】

The simple one-button design makes it easy when adjusting the temperature, by turning it from left to right, you can adjust the water temperature with 1-degree increments. Different models meet various needs. The small electric tankless water heater would be suitable for a small apartment use and supports 1 shower only in a cold climate.

Do Electric Tankless Water Heaters Work in Cold Climates?

You may find that most on-demand water heaters for cold climates are gas or propane, seldom are they electric. This does not mean that electric models do not work in cold climates, only the working performance of gas can be more stable than the electric ones.

Why is this? Well, a electric boiler is easily affected by the cold climate on water temperature, it drops 1-2 degrees when you use it in colder climates. Controversially, the power of gas is stronger than that of electric, which is the main reason why gas models keep the stable and balanced water temperature in cold climates. Plus, the freeze protection and rain cap applied on the gas heater can also help from becoming frozen down.

In other words if you have a higher budget, then the gas type is the best choice for cold climates. For a lower budget, you can also choose the ideal electric tankless water heater listed on our reviews based on your own demands.

How Do I Keep My Electric Tankless Water Heater From Freezing?

Even a cheap tankless water heater or those with the heavy-duty producing process, the interior materials of instant heaters is made from steel, which is easily corroded by the wet environment, especially in colder climates where it is moist and low in temperature. Under such conditions, keeping the on-demand heaters from freezing is a must-do for prolonging the life span of the heater.

The freeze damage to the tankless water heater normally results from the water inside the heater turning into ice, then quickly expanding and doing damaging to the core components. Most of the heaters are equipped with freezing protection devices but there are still things to caution:

  • The freezing protection activates only when you plug the machine into a power source. Without a power source it will not be activated.
  • The freezing protection only protects the most critical components of the heater, so other actions must be taken to prevent it from freezing.

Below are the detailed steps that you can follow to protect your heater:

1. Install your heater somewhere warm and dry

Unlike natural gas models, the electric tankless water heaters should always be installed indoors. And if you can, place the heater somewhere that is dry, warm and free from the prevailing wind, then it is unlikely to freeze even in extremely cold temperatures.

2. Drain your heaters

As we have said before, any amount of water in cold climates will do most damage to the heaters, the formed ice can be the last thing that brings the heater into the end of its life. Therefore, drain your heaters especially when you plan to stop using it for a long period of time.

3. Plug it in the wall in use

Keep the power source on if your heaters are equipped with the freeze protection. Only when the power is on can the protection systems work. However, there is no need to keep the heater on — just keep the heater plugged in. In case of power outages, having a battery backup can be a wise decision.

4. A recirculation system

The recirculation system allows the heater to be heated continuously, thus the pipes and plumbing lines can always keep warm.

5. Pay attention to insulating

Again, the freeze protection system protects your core components only, the other parts of the heater that affect the lifespan of the heater are still in danger during the cold climates. Remember to insulate your pipes with heated tape or other protective materials.

6. Running a trickle of water

The last tip you can use is to keep the heater running is to let a trickle of water, measuring around 0.1 or 0.2 gallons per minute to flow overnight, to keep the warm water running through and thus minimizes the chances of freezing.



Will Montgomery

Will Montgomery: Electro-Mechanical Engineer, Serial Entrepreneur, and Real Estate Enthusiast. Met David at Penn State, where he earned a BS in Electro-Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Business. Expertly manages capital equipment manufacturing, refurbishing, and repair businesses, while exploring opportunities in real estate and advocating for practical heating solutions.

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