Our house’s hot water is generated by a 30+ year old gas water heater tank, strapped to a wall in the garage and wrapped with a layer of insulation. It’s not very efficient, but it’s nearly as good as it is going to get. A supreme pain in arse is the pilot lite to get relit. And it takes a long time, about 2-4 gallons of water in 30-45 seconds time, to get the shower hot in the morning. And while we do our best to reuse that water, it’s largely an unnecessary use of resources.
To shore up these inefficiencies, we’ve been considering retrofitting the old tank with a brand spankin’ new high tech tank-less water heater. The concept of on-demand hot water is such a cool one. But as our cost-benefits research/analysis has shown, it’s simply not worth it.
Primarily because the current installation cost somewhere in the $1000-$1500 range. And that’s being generous – I’m assuming slick deals can be had on the device itself and on the install going smoothly. And while I’d like to think I could install it myself, in reality, that’s a challenge I don’t have time to take on or one to experiment with. Not having hot water is practically impossible to live with.
So, we’re stuck with the tank. Likely even when this one dies, we’ll just buy a new tank-style water heater. In doing so we’ll nearly eke out the same efficiency bang we’d get with a tank-less for a lot less buck. And certainly spend a lot less in the short term.
The interweb consensus is that tank-less water heaters are best suited to new construction, not existing homes. Tanks may be out of style, but they’re certainly not out of time.