Your Place: A frustrated reader says no thanks to no tanks

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

I was going to pass on further discussion of tankless heaters until I received an email from Sandy Wardrop, who offered a contrarian viewpoint.

I had received a number of responses to my original query about user experiences.

"Put me in the ‘never again’ group," Wardrop said of tankless heaters.

Wardrop said the model was a big-name gas brand with no support from a mini-tank — one that is put on a sink to boost availability.

The issues:

Every time you call for hot water, it emits a burst of gas into the environment as gas is built up to heat the water.

If you are hand-washing dishes, especially on holidays or after large meals, you get instances of cold water periodically.

Every time you call for hot water, the heater pauses for five to six seconds before it turns on to begin heating and before emitting the burst.

This "causes cold water to be sent through the pipes intermittently."

You cannot stop the shower to let hair conditioner work or any other reason to try to conserve water, because the heat cycle resumes and "you have really cold water for 15 to 25 seconds until the hot water builds back up and is piped into the bathroom," Wardrop said.

If you try to have a cooler shower in summer, "there is a very fine line between cool and cold as the heater will shut off completely as you adjust temperature," Wardrop said.

You do have continuous hot water, but only if one shower/appliance is in use, Wardrop said. If a second shower begins, or the dishwasher, or the washing machine comes on, the hot water is divided.

"I cannot see the advantage to tankless," Wardrop said. "You waste water — another precious resource — with the heat delay, pollute our air, and annoy users."

"Perhaps the electrical unit works differently, at least not directly polluting the air or has no need for a time delay," Wardrop said.

"Perhaps the mini-tank, which keeps a small amount of water always hot, would reduce the time delay before you get hot water," Wardrop said.

"We were trying to be ‘green’ and do our bit, but this tankless is not the answer for me."


(Contact Alan J. Heavens at or write him at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia PA 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.)


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