Reasonable alternative for people looking for a mini-tank
Bosch GL4 Ariston
The Bosch GL4 Ariston is a point-of-use water heater that allows you to immediately enjoy hot water where you need it — be it your kitchen sink or shower. You can install this unit independently or link it with your main water heater. If you attach it with your main water heater, you can enjoy continuous hot water—just as the mini-tank empties your primary hot water source kicks in to your tap. This mini-tank holds 4 gallons, just enough for washing your hands and dishes, or if taking a shower, it’s enough for a very quick shower.
The GL4 Ariston comes with an on/off switch that allows you to turn the unit off when you’re not using it; thus, you save on electricity. One user recommended that instead of adjusting the temperature via the thermostat (which is hidden inside the unit) to lower electrical usage, just turn off the entire unit. When you switch it back on you’ll still get the temperature you initially set. You can also extend water usage when taking a shower by turning it on only to shampoo and rinse yourself.
The unit is designed for indoor use, but if you are going to install it outdoors you should build an enclosure to shield it from unnecessary exposure to the elements. The Bosch GL4 Ariston can also be used for your RV. The Bosch GL4 Ariston is a good alternative to propane-powered tanks.
- Decent features
The mini-tank is lined with glass to prevent early corrosion, and has sufficient insulation that allows it to recover quickly and save on energy usage.
The unit measures 14” x 14” x 12.25” and can easily fit under the kitchen sink. Do check the space you have before purchasing.
- Easy installation
Installing the unit is quite easy provided you have basic plumbing knowledge; otherwise, get a professional. You can connect the unit to a cold water line or hot water line, and just plug it directly to an outlet (120 volts). You just buy flexible connections from a hardware store.
The manufacturer offers a 6-year limited warranty for the heat exchanger, and one year for parts.
The not so good
- Short lifespan
As may be expected from its price, this unit has a short lifespan. Owners have reported signs of leakage as early as three years after installation.
- Thermostat control
Similar to the other models in this series, the thermostat control is buried under three layers of panels that are secured by screws. Adjusting the temperature may be difficult as you have to do a bit of experimentation. If you have attached the unit to a main hot water heater, you will need an instant-read thermometer because the built-in dial does not display the reading.
- Poor customer service
Those who have had problems with the unit have sought assistance from customer service and claim that the support personnel were not helpful, rude even. Most of the complaints stem from the company not honoring the warranty when the unit fails, but note that in order to avail of the warranty, you must follow the instructions on maintenance—replacing the anode every year; failure to do so voids the warranty. It appears that the complainants did not observe this.
Now, if you prefer not doing any maintenance or have higher water demands, better choose another brand/model. There is no point in buying an inexpensive alternative that is not suitable to your requirements.