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Is a Tankless Water Heater Cost-Effective?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright, topic is tankless water heaters with Larry in California.

    Larry, have you already bought one? Are you looking to get one?

    LARRY: Actually, we’re in the preliminary stages of house planning here.

    TOM: OK.

    LARRY: And we were banging around the idea of the tankless water heater; wanted to know if you could give us some insight on the pros and cons. We’re also concerned, with the price of natural gas going up, if it’s actually going to be worthwhile in the long run.

    TOM: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: Well Tom, tankless water heaters, they’re on-demand water heaters? Is that what they’re also known as?

    TOM: Yep. I love them. Absolutely love them. You know why? What they do – it makes so much sense, Larry. A typical water heater keeps the water hot all the time. So even if you’re not using the water, you’re still paying to heat the water. A tankless water heater has no tank and heats the water on a demand basis; so as soon as you call for hot water, it heats that water and sends it out to you. And there are a lot of advantages to that.

    The folks at Rinnai make good tankless water heaters. Rheem – R-h-e-e-m – makes a good tankless water heater. And you can do interesting things with those. For example, you can program the water temperature so that let’s say you have kids taking a bath and you want to send your son up to take a bath, your daughter up to take a bath, and you’re worried about them scalding themselves. They have like – one I saw had a remote control panel where you can instantly dial down the water temperature to, say, maybe 105 degrees, so they couldn’t scald themselves.

    LARRY: Right.

    TOM: And then when they’re done with the bath, you can dial it back up to 120. So it’s a very convenient system and also a very intelligent system because it only heats the water when you actually use it. It can supply an endless supply of hot water. You basically design one for the size of your house and the number of baths so the heat exchanger is properly sized. And it’s going to be great. So I have nothing but good things to say about them.

    LARRY: So even if I have several different appliances going on that require hot water, it shouldn’t put a drain on the system?

    TOM: No, you just buy one. They’re sized for the number of bathrooms. (Leslie chuckles) Make sure you buy an appropriate one and you’ll be in good shape.

    LARRY: Hey, great. And what about the natural gas cost, you think, going up and what have you? You think it’s still a worthwhile endeavor?

    TOM: Well yeah, but you can get one that’s natural gas-powered as well as electric-powered.

    LARRY: Oh, they do make an electric?

    TOM: Oh, yeah.

    LARRY: Oh, OK.

    LESLIE: Yeah, but is the electric going to be more money regardless of the cost of the …?

    TOM: Sure it’s going to be – yeah, of course it’s going to be more money; more money to run. I mean I would always go with gas whenever I could. OK, Larry?

    LARRY: OK.

    TOM: Alright, man. Thanks for calling The Money Pit.

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