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Tankless water heaters under fire

Many readers disappointed with units' cost, performance

Recently a reader asked if we thought installing an on-demand, or tankless, water heater was smart. We responded "Yes, in theory." Conceptually, heating water as it's needed makes more sense than heating water and storing it in a tank for later use. We ended that column with the statement that the tankless models theoretically are a reasonable alternative, but with a caveat to do your homework. Of course, the devil is in the details, and once again our readers offered their opinions and experience. Several pointed out potential trouble spots. The flaws they identified ranged from higher operating costs to retrofitting gas lines to situations in which the things just don't work. One reader writes: "I had to respond to your rave review of on-demand water heaters. My landlord put them in our building (a fourplex) about six weeks ago, and I truly hate the results. Often the wait for hot water to come out of the tap is as long as two minutes (I've timed it), with t...

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