Replace a Hot Water Heater
LESLIE: Nancy in Nebraska, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
NANCY: Hi. We are wondering about hot water heaters.
NANCY: We live in a ranch-style home and our bedrooms and bathrooms are on one end of the house where the hot water heater is – down in the basement – and our kitchen and laundry is on the other end of the house about 50 feet between. Our hot water heater is about 15 years old, so we’re probably going to have to replace it anyway.
NANCY: But our problem is mainly to get hot water in the kitchen, we have to leave it run for like five minutes.
LESLIE: Oh, wow.
TOM: Yep, mm-hmm. Yeah.
NANCY: And then like halfway through doing the dishes, to do some rinsing, the water is cold.
TOM: Yeah. Well, the solution here is to shorten the distance between the water heater and the kitchen. And one way to do that is to split the single-zone hot water system that you have into two zones and add a tankless water heater nearer to the kitchen. Because a tankless …
NANCY: Put a tankless hot water heater near the kitchen.
TOM: Yeah, near the kitchen. Yep.
TOM: They’re very small, they’re very powerful.
NANCY: They take up very little space.
TOM: And if you do it before the end of the year, you can get a tax credit because they’re very energy-efficient as well.
NANCY: OK. So how about the hot water heater down by the bathrooms and where we take our showers?
TOM: You could add a second tankless water heater to that location as well.
LESLIE: I mean you’re definitely going to have to replace your existing water heater because you said it’s 15 years old.
NANCY: That’s correct.
LESLIE: And you know, generally, the lifespan is ten years-ish, if you’re lucky; seven to ten years.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah.
LESLIE: So you’ve done very well. So I would take advantage of the tax credits and replace that one and then definitely add the secondary one. You can go tankless for both but definitely tankless for the additional.
NANCY: OK. So, could they both – could they be smaller tankless ones or do you need …?
TOM: Yeah. You would size them for the number of fixtures that they’re handling.
TOM: This way you’d have one that’s just the right size; it’s not going to waste any gas. But a tankless water heater would be the hot ticket today because it only operates when you need water and it essentially supplies an unlimited amount of hot water.
NANCY: OK. Alright. Well, I think that should do it.
TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.