Your Place: Talk about water, or irrigating and other purposes

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

I don’t water lawns. I consider it a waste of a precious resource, and years of experience have taught me that the grass will come back after a dry or hot spell.

I do water our gardens, though, and I’ve just hooked up a diverter to one of the garage downspouts that is convenient to our raised beds, for both watering by hand and setting up a drip-irrigation system.

I attached two rain barrels to the diverter, and they filled up in a few hours on one of May’s many rainy days.

The diverter I chose closes automatically when the barrels are filled, and whatever rain falls from then on is directed into the splash block and away from the garage’s foundation.

There are a number of diverter systems on the market. I’d suggest checking them out online.

The one I chose cost $33 with tax. Shipping was free.

A different water issue. It has been a long time since I wrote about water heaters. I did consider doing so a few months ago, when my brother-in-law asked me to recommend one to him.

Jeanne Vasquez, of Middletown Township in Delaware County, informs us that a neighbor was considering a tankless water heater and says she and her husband picked up a brochure about them at the home center.

She was intrigued.

I have not installed a tankless unit at our house — why mess with something that I maintain regularly and have had no trouble with — so it might be interesting to find out from those of you who have them what you think.

It doesn’t matter if your tankless water heaters are electric or gas, whole-house or on-point demand. Weigh in and I’ll do a column or two.

Vasquez poses another interesting question: How do you tell whether you need a new heater before it develops problems, "like a flooded finished basement?" she asks.

"Ours looks and acts brand new, although it is 10 years old," she says.

Based on the manufacturer’s suggested service life, a water heater is expected to last eight to 12 years, Lowe’s experts say.

Having a plumber check out that water heater might be a good idea, just to be safe.