California correspondent Sandy Nader is reporting from her hometown of Miami, FL.
The other day, I saw an NBC Miami News special on tankless water heaters. The tag line of "Go Tankless" and save the big bucks got me thinking -- what's the deal with tankless water heaters ... and if they're so great, why doesn't everyone have one?
Tankless heaters, or demand heaters, are a model of efficient heating. Unlike storage heaters, they only heat the water when hot water is in demand, rather than wasting energy as the stored hot water stands unused for hours. The result is that demand heaters can be 24-34 percent more efficient for homes that use about 41 gallons of hot water a day, and 8-14 percent more efficient for homes that use around 86 gallons a day (an above average usage). See the U.S. Dept. of Energy website
for more efficiency specifics.
The downsides? Cost, for one. Yet while slightly more expensive than storage heaters, the energy savings could eventually offset the price difference (see U.S. Dept. of Energy cost analysis
). Demand heaters also require you to reduce your demand for hot water if you don't install multiple heaters for high-energy using appliances, since a demand heater's on-the-go heat generation limits the flow rate capacity.
Still trying to decide? Take a look at NBC's special yourself, and see what you think: