A solution for the age-old dilemma — do I waste water for 10 minutes, or get in now and freeze my tush off?
For some people it’s a twice a day ritual, for some it’s just what you have to do in order to be presentable, for a lot people it’s the perfect antidote to the temps we’re starting to see in the northern hemisphere, and for even more people around the world a hot shower is a luxury they hardly dare to dream of having once a month, let alone every day.
Hedonist or utilitarian, none of us really like to waste water. Even here in the middle of the United States where we aren’t in a water crisis, I turn the shower on and wait, sticking my hand in frequently to see if the temperature has reached tolerable temperatures for the rest of my body, thinking about all the people in the world who would be glad of a private shower in clean water, regardless of the goose bumps.
Which is why I am a fan of tankless, or point of use water heaters. (If you’re reading this in some parts of the world, especially Europe, you’re probably rolling your eyes because you’ve been using these for ages!) There are several good manufacturers around, but I’m partial to Stiebel Eltron. (No, they don’t pay me to say that, they just make good stuff.)
You can choose one for one application (that takes-forever-to-get-warm shower for instance,) or just the bathroom (two or three applications) or even a whole house.
They aren’t pretty. But they really do deliver instant bliss in the shower as well as an alleviation of guilt for the water that goes down the drain because it isn’t the right temperature. (That’s a picture of one I installed – a face only a contractor could love.)
Electric models are great for limited applications. They’re less expensive and fairly easy to install, although most electric models ( ie the ones that will provide enough water for a tub or shower) need to be direct wired to the breaker panel with 220 volts.
Gas models are probably a better choice for a whole house, but that’s not a DIY project unless you’re comfortable and competent working with gas lines. Remember that different locales have slightly different rules and codes that must be followed.
Either choice will provide hot water in seconds instead of minutes. Please be aware that people refer to these water heaters as “instant”, they are not, quite. Somewhere between 5 to 15 seconds is more accurate. You will still save a lot of water and time, compared to a traditional water heater.
And yes, for those of you who want to know – there is a way to create a loop in your existing plumbing/traditional water heater to provide warm water as soon as you turn on the faucet. That is another post and a different set of circumstances/issues. Maybe next time.
For another cold-weather-friendly bathroom idea check out “Radiant Floor Heat Rocks!”
If you’re doing a bathroom upgrade you might find “3 Tips To Install a Toilet” helpful.
And if you’re just lamenting the joys of home ownership in the winter here are “3 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Winter.”
What do you want to know about DIY?
Do you have specific projects you would like to tackle? Not sure how to get started? Convinced that you won’t be able to get answers to your questions at the hardware store? Great! Tom wants to know.
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Photo/Flickr: Steven Depolo