Our house came with a long list of appliances that needed to be replaced. Chelsea’s Dad, Brent, has a heating and cooling company (PMG Mechanical 206-624-5040) so I called him out to take a look at our water heater and furnace. His opinion about the water heater lined up with our inspector and a plumber that had been at the house: replace it soon. The furnace? That’s next year. Yeehaw.
Instead of just replacing the 50 gallon water heater with something similar, we went fancy and got a Takagi TK-3 tankless water heater. Tankless? Yep. That box hanging on the wall in the photo is our water heater. When you turn on a hot water faucet somewhere in the house, the burner fires up and it heats up the water as fast as it flows through the box. In theory you have to wait a tiny bit longer for your hot water, but since many of our faucets are on the other side of the house, I can’t tell any difference. The benefits are that you never run out of hot water and you aren’t paying to keep a bunch of water hot all day when you’re not using it.
Brent said that the water heater he took out was around 61% efficiency. For every $1 we spent on gas to heat the water, $0.39 was thrown away. The new system is 82% efficient and qualifies for some pretty large rebates and tax credits for being Energy Star certified.
You may notice that there is a recirculation pump in there. It’s the cheesy kind that works with a bypass value which forms a loop at the end of your plumbing run so your hot and cold pipes fill with hot water. This was on the old tank when we bought the house so I had him hook it up but it’s not enabled right now. Running a pump like this means that you’re burning gas the entire time and I’d rather just run the cold water out of the pipes myself in the morning. Also, when he set this up he added a hose bib for both the hot and cold water lines, so in theory, I could easily have hot water to wash my car!
All in all, I have no complaints with the system. I won’t really know if this saves us any money because we haven’t gotten enough gas bills to see a trend change. Brent said that for many people, the bill actually goes up because they never run out of hot water and use more of it. I’m not sure that Tyla and I will fit into that category since we aren’t in the habit of running out of hot water, but we’ll see. Hopefully this keeps our water warm for many years to come!