Q: I read with interest your recent column on water heaters. Mine went out recently, and I have been considering going to a tankless model. Since it would cost about three times more than a conventional heater, I was wondering what you thought about tankless heaters? Is it a smart way to go? A: A tankless or "on-demand" water heater simultaneously provides unlimited hot water to sinks, showers and dishwashers. Any man who has endured a cold shower after his teenage daughter drained the tank doesn't have to ask if this is a smart way to go. The question gave us pause to consider the way Americans have provided domestic hot water for the past century. Filling a 30- to 50-gallon steel tank with cold water, slowly heating it with a flame or electricity and letting it sit and re-heat until we needed it just isn't the best way to go. Granted, there are boilers and the odd tankless system out there, but tanks have been the norm for as long as we can remember. Tankless ...
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