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How to Choose a Tankless Water Heater

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Well, the best time to upgrade your appliances for more energy-efficient models is right now – and we can’t stress that enough – because there are amazing federal tax credits out there that are making energy-efficient upgrades to your home very affordable.

    TOM: Yes, like a much cheaper and smarter way to heat water for your home. This Old House host Kevin O’Connor and plumbing expert Rich Trethewey join us right now with details on that.

    And Kevin, these highly-efficient units are known by a couple of different names but they all do a great job.

    KEVIN: Some people call them tankless water heaters, some people call them on-demand water heaters and still others call them instantaneous water heaters. No matter what you call them, replacing your tank-style water heater with one of these units will save you money.

    RICHARD: Well, that’s right. Here’s how they work. Instead of having a 40- or 50- or 60-gallon tank of hot water sitting all day – heating up, cooling off, the burner comes on all day long waiting for you to maybe come home and take some hot water – an instantaneous water heater heats the water only when it’s needed. Now usually they’re natural gas or propane and, for the most part, they’re direct-vented or installed outdoors in places where you don’t have a chance of a freeze; and there are a few models that can actually vent right into an existing flue line.

    KEVIN: That seems like a great idea.

    RICHARD: Especially right now. There are so many incentives, including tax credits from the government and rebates from local utilities, that make these units even more affordable.

    KEVIN: And to watch a step-by-step video of a tankless water heater installation, visit us at ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And can tankless water heaters even handle a household with three teenagers?

    RICHARD: Absolutely. (Tom chuckles) You could take a shower 24 hours straight and that keeps up with most teenagers.

    KEVIN: But that’s the only thing that can handle three teenagers. (Tom laughs)

    RICHARD: That’s right.

    TOM: Richard Trethewey, Kevin O’Connor from This Old House; thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    RICHARD: Thanks, Tom.

    KEVIN: Good to be here.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) You know, I’ve got to tell you, Tom; you’re going to need all of that tankless water heater tax incentives and those energy savings that you can muster just to pay for those teenagers.

    TOM: Oh, don’t I know it. I’m looking at like 10 years worth of college tuition.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) It’s so expensive.

    TOM: Well, for more tips, you can watch This Old House on your local PBS station. And This Old House is brought to you by Lumber Liquidators – hardwood floors for less.

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