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Prompted by responses in this thread, I just went and found the very long thread on tankless water heaters that was started with cmonkey's question:

Very cool info. I'm going to toddle over to Home Depot today and check these things out.

We just bought an old house with an old oil burner and no water heater tank. The hot water comes directly off the boiler and is mixed with cold water (in proportions that we determine by adjusting a spigot near the boiler). This method of getting hot water sucks. When the heat is on, the water is scalding. When it's not on, the water is lukewarm. Back-to-back showers invariably result in not enough hot water for the second person.

Anyway, we've been getting estimates from plumbers on water heaters. (The prices: ouch!) Now, I think I want to look into these tankless systems.

I keep wondering whether I should just suck it up and replace the whole heating system--get a new, more efficient burner along with whatever new hot water system I choose. (Our old burner is pretty well-maintained. It has an efficiency rating of 77.5; but our service guy says the new burners are typically 10 points higher than that.) I was hoping to hold out with the old burner for 2-4 more years; we'd wipe out our savings right now, if we did the full replacement.

Problem with these tankless heaters is that we don't have a gas line in our house. Gas is available in this area, but the previous owners (who had the house for 35 years) never used gas for anything. I assume the electric ones are a lot less efficient.


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