I love taking an absurdly long hot shower after spending a day in the shop. I can do so because the people who built my house expected a bunch of kids to live here, and they installed two big-ass hot water heaters. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I’m shelling out cash to keep 110 gallons of water hot all the time, even when I’m out of town.
Rheem’s tankless water heaters sound like a better answer. Through the use of a very efficient heat exchanger, they heat quickly enough to provide a continuous supply of hot water on demand, meaning I keep my long showers and pay less for my gas bill. Did I mention some of them qualify for a $300 tax credit, too?
Here’s how they work: when you turn on the water, the unit senses the water flow and its built-in computer ignites the gas burners and monitors the combustion for safety and performance. The heat exchanger warms water as it flows through, and you get hot water at the tap. When you turn off the hot water faucet, the heater shuts down, using almost no energy until you fire it back up.
According to Rheem, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 includes some tax gredits (up to $300) for new home builders and commercial users. Of course, your mileage may vary, but it’s worth a look if you’re considering going tankless.
Of course, there’s another side benefit that might prove more valuable than the energy savings: you don’t have a 50+ gallon tank of water waiting to flood your house should it spring a leak. As someone who’s seen this happen — and is happy to have his big-ass water heaters in the garage instead of in the attic — I can say that this is a huge advantage.
Rheem makes a variety of models in multiple sizes for both inside and outside installation, and they carry a 10-year warranty. Pricing starts around $1,000.