Saturday, May 11, 2013

To Tank Or Not To Tank.


A few months ago, featured an incredibly informative article geared toward people undergoing a whole-house remodel/renovation.  Some fantastic points were brought up, but there was one tip in particular about tankless water heaters that got me 'heated' up.  (How could I *not* go there?)

I'm embedding the article here because it was pretty sweet and it might help someone else in a similar situation.

Now..... on to the reason for this post.  Without a lot of research beforehand, we purchased a tankless water heater when we updated the furnace and air conditioning.  We were almost doubling our square footage and according to the HVAC peeps, we would need to upgrade our (already very old) units in order to pass the HVAC inspection and be up to code (I have my reservations on some of this information.  Do your research beforehand to be 100% sure).  Long story short: we thought that going with a tankless water heater, as opposed to our regular ol' run-of-the-mill tank water heater would be the fancy, dee-luxe apartment in the sky right thing to do.

Well.  Notsomuch.

Here's the edited and prettified version of my comments from the Houzz article.  Maybe they'll be informative for someone out there on the fence with whether or not to take the tankless plunge.


"With regards to your first point ('Consider Water') I would *HIGHLY* suggest people do their homework on tankless water heaters. I chose a tankless heater based on all of the glowingawesomewonderfulunicorns! reviews I heard and I gotta say, I hate it. With a fervent passion. Like, I want to punch it. 

"Consider a separate tankless or tank heater for your second story, or a larger tank with a recirculation pump that keeps hot water right at your taps." 

Girl, word up to your mutha. 

In hindsight, I would have factored in a recirculation pump to my overall budget. But I didn't. So, for the time being, I deal with excessively cold water for excessively long periods while the tankless unit debates whether I deserve to wash my hands in warm water.

With regards to people saying that they're "much more" economical than the gas ones, I don't know how true that is. I think that in the long run, yes, you might save some money, but that's at the cost of: 

-your dishwasher not running properly due to the lack of immediate hot water 

-your laundry potentially not being cleaned properly. With two little boys at home, I have some MAJOR loads that need to be washed in HOT water. With high-efficiency washing machines that don't use much water to begin with, they certainly aren't getting up to temp to clean certain loads the way I'd like 

-unbelievable water waste. I used to turn on my shower and be able to hop in and adjust temp within about 5-10 seconds of having the water run down the drain. Now, whether I'm showering or washing a dish or my hands or whatever, I have to wait upwards of 20-30 seconds. Sometimes more. That might not seem like much, but it's *amazing* how much water is actually being wasted during that time 

-the dreaded 'cold-water sandwich' as my trades call it. You turn on the hot water in the kitchen to wash a few dishes. You then turn the tap down or off for just a moment to grab those dirty pots on the stove. You turn the tap back on to hot to continue washing and you're met with another round of ice-cold water while you wait for the unit to kick back on. I've heard that this is because some (all?) units require a certain flow capacity to be running consistently in order for the water to be heated. Again, wasted water while you wait for the hot stuff. 

Yes, you can purchase recirculation units and have them installed so that they're a fresh supply of hot water at a moment's notice. Yes, you can even purchase a holding tank that keeps a batch of hot water waiting for your beckoning. But you know what? If your tankless water heater requires a tank for it to be effective, why bother? 

For me, personally, it hasn't been worth it. AT ALL. I don't feel that my saleperson that touted this unit did an adequate job of disclosing the above-mentioned issues and frankly, *I* didn't do a good job of doing my homework prior to spending an arm, leg and torso. 

***This is information taken directly from a company's website that sells the recirculation pumps 

*"Significant water (and sewer) disposal savings, retaining the 12,000 to 38,000 gallons of water a typical U.S. home wastes annually waiting for hot water. Some fast-growing counties are making the installation of hot water recirculation pumps mandatory for all new construction projects."* 

Guys, that's *typical* US homeowner. Does a *typical* homeowner have a tankless water heater? Probably not. If the typical Joe Schmoe is wasting upwards of 38,000 gallons a year with a regular hot water tank, it makes me shudder to think what I'm wasting. If all of this information is true, it should come MANDATORY. Period. New construction or not. 

If I had to do it again, I'd buy a bigger heater and wrap that sucker in insulation."

Do you have a tankless water heater?  Are you considering it?

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