We decided to move to tankless water heating at our house. So rather than a huge drum water heater that I’ve had in every home of my life, we have these small wall-mounted rectangles.

We have a kinda weird half-sunken crawl space on the side of our house where our water heater and HVAC live.

Part of our original impetus was that we’d have “instant” hot water. Which… turns out isn’t really a feature of tankless water heating directly, so, derp. There are some actual advantages though:

  • The water is heated on-demand, so you don’t “run out” like you can with a tank.
  • It’s much more efficient, not keeping a huge tank of water hot at all times.
  • If they break, they just break, they don’t break and leak out a giant tank of water.
  • They are generally more “modern” and have modern features.

Modern features like being “smart” (e.g. connected) and sending you a message when they need repair and such. Another modern feature is that some of them have a “recirculating pump” built into them, and that is actually the feature that buys you the “instant” hot water.

Ours didn’t have the recirculating pump(s) built-in, so we added that separately. And! Wait for it! It doesn’t work that well. Our main shower is as far away from these heaters as you can possibly be: across the house and up a level. I haven’t done anything scientific, but it maybe bought us a minute or two of speed. What took 5 minutes to heat up before now takes 3? Better, but it ain’t instant.

I still feel pretty good about the change though. Not because of any of the standard features though, but because:

  • It’s a brand new unit that we purchased ourselves, meaning we have all the paperwork and warranty information and such.
  • It was installed by a local company (our normal plumbers) as guaranteed work, so we have that established relationship to use if there are any problems.

Those are important things to me. I like to know if anything goes wrong there is an obvious, established, guaranteed path toward resolution.

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