Tankless water heaters: pros and cons
After debating the pros and cons of on-demand or tankless water heaters, a couple concludes that the environment is the deciding factor.
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Here in the States, where we have a conventional tank, I also have to wait a moment or two after turning on the water fo rit to come out of the faucet heated to my desired temperature. That’s because it also has to travel from the tank through some pipes that still have cold water in them to get to the faucet. I don’t understand why Consumer Reports chose to ‘diss” tankless water heaters for a problem that’s just as common with conventional ones.Skip to next paragraph
Alexandra writes about the "green" and budget-friendly renovation of a 100-year-old farmhouse in south-central Connecticut.
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As for the complaint about a tankless burner maybe not igniting when there’s just a trickle of water, when you run just a trickle of water out of a faucet connected to a conventional tank, it also comes out cold for a long time before heating up.
When Martin shaves, occasionally he turns on the hot water until it gets to a good temperature, then lessens it to a trickle. It works the same with our conventional tank here and the tankless one in Italy. (But most of the time, Martin is much more conservation-oriented: He turns on the hot water, puts a stopper in the sink, and fills it with only as much as he needs to shave. No waste there.)
We do have one problem with the tankless heater in Italy. That’s with the water for the shower. It’s on the other side of the apartment from the water heater, and so, you have to turn the shower on and run it for a few minutes for the hot water to travel from kitchen, where the tankless heater is.
But here in the US, we have the same issue with our conventional tank. I also have to leave the shower in the bathroom running a minute or two for the hot water to travel from the basement to the shower upstairs. So is this really a problem unique to tankless heaters?
At Sheep Dog, we’ve decided to go with two Noritz gas-fired tankless heaters – one to be installed in a kitchen closet, the other near the bathrooms. That way we’ll have our hot water sooner than we currently do with the water traveling up from the conventional tank to the kitchen and baths.
And finally, here’s my last complaint about Consumer Reports: Their bottom-line analysis is too limited in its scope. Isn’t it time to adjust our cost-benefit analysis from merely focusing on our individual pocketbooks to including the overall good of the economy and generations to come?
It might take me 20 years to break even when I install my tankless heaters, but during that time I’ll be using 22 percent less of a finite fossil fuel resource each year. Isn’t that worth considering?
In fairness to Consumer Reports, they did have a video clip accompanying their article that after listing all of their perceived cost and inconsistent temperature problems, concludes: “But if saving energy is important to you, getting a tankless water heater may be worth it.” Yup, it might be!