Friday, January 9, 2009

22: Tankless Water Heater

I decided to use a Baxi tankless water heater for all of my domestic hot water, as well as the heating needs of the radiant floor system in the house. More and more people are replacing their expired hot water tanks with one of these new models from Europe. Why has it taken Americans (and American manufacturers) so long to catch on? When I first spoke with my local electricity provider, they made me think that it was a bad idea by mumbling something about these machines being very energy demanding. They're not, and I went with a model that runs on propane. I later found out that the local electric company sells tank hot water heaters....wonder why they tried to dissuade me?

Tankless water heaters are extremely efficient in that they only heat water on demand. That means water when you need it for as long as you need it. I guess that doesn't sound very green, but you get the idea. I won't be keeping a tank of water heated 24/7 when it's not needed. Here's a picture of my Baxi. You can also see the faily simple the radiant floor system mounted to the right on the wall. When the interior thermostats call for heat, the system runs water through the Baxi, and these pipes send it to the appropriate plastic tubing that winds back and forth beneath the floors. It's a closed hydroponic system, so it uses the same water over and over again. There is minimal evaporation over time, but the system simply pulls in fresh water as needed. It's all amazingly compact.

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