On Wed, 09 Apr 2008 14:50:31 -0700, Matt W. Barrow wrote:
My opinion is it's caused by a failing in the American educational system
(I'm sure other countries have similar failings, but I'm only an expert on
America). We don't learn analytical thinking, nor how to apply analytical
thinking to practical everyday problems. We aren't taught to be critical
I studied physics, and TA'd freshman physics labs at Georgia Tech, a place
where reasonably bright, reasonably well educated types go. They all knew
the algebra necessary to solve the labs (it was 9'th grade level math),
but it was extremely rare to find someone who would, without walking them
through it, be able to take the simple physical problem and translate it
into the simple mathematical equation, and then solve that equation.
American consumers, just like American voters (same people after all) are
far more likely to make an emotional decision than a rational one,
although a goodly number of them go to a lot of effort to rationalize
their decisions afterward. Then they go to a lot of effort to justify
their rationalizations, instead of being flexible and changing their minds
about things as new information and technology arises (look at how much
mileage Bush got out calling Kerry a 'waffler').
Because their decision making is emotional, they get emotional about
justifying the decision, and it becomes next-to-impossible to argue with
them. The more thoroughly you can prove that they are mistaken, the more
pissed off they will get, and impossible to convince.
Additionally, as a culture want simple answers. We like to paint things
in terms of good and evil, right and wrong. The water heater thing isn't
so simple. Whether a tankless system is good for you depends on your use,
and it's worth going over the facts and making an intelligent decision.
On the other hand, the facts seem to indicate it is the right choice for
the majority of people, not to mention the environment.
Finally, we're a pretty prideful people. Humility is not taught as a
virtue in our culture. So we take it as a personal shortcoming, or a loss
of face, when we are proven wrong. The more passionately we argue for
something, the more face we lose if we change our mind. It's important to
struggle against that mode of being since it leads to really sub-optimal
For my side,I would hope both this post and the previous one showed more a
passion for analytical thinking and reasonable decision making than they
do for tankless water heaters :)
i liove endless hot water and my 50 gallon high BTU tank provides over
twice what my old 40 gallon 34,000 BTU one did. its a small luxury and
my gas bill appeared unchanged after its install
another tankless issue is the ones with heat modulation, where the
burners go up and down automatically. these changes can be so fast a
temperature compensating shower valve may have trouble keeping up, and
be terrible for someone without temperature control.
Only a junk unit would not modulate, I will bet all do now, no
modulation means its on 100% all the time and that is a waste of
money, my shower is fine, ive never had an issue. With no modulation
and a 100f rise 70f incomming would be heated to 170f.
That's a partial factor, but fear of change is as old as humanity itself.
. [irrelevant stuff snipepd]
Again, it's as old as humanity. I could dig out some quotes from ancient
Greece or Rome, but why should I?
So did primitive tribes thousands of years ago.
Now, I will say that, as an "advanced civilization", we should have outgrown
those issues, but another look at our modern culture shows westill have the
trappings of primitivism, superstition, etc.
These "trappings" are our "security blankets".
I hope to hell not, because thatpride is what helps us to adpt, to do great
works, and to outgrow that "trappings" mentioned earlier.
Adults take a much different tact, but maturity is in short supply, just as
"common sense" was not so common to Ben Franklin 250 years ago.
There is nothing more noble or honorable than someone admitting they were
wrong. Philosophers have written about it for centuries.
Problem is, free will (thinking) is not automatic. And you are right to an
extent, in that our (US) education system has been geared in the opposite
direction for about 100 years now.
I think a major failing shown here is your own naοvetι about history and
human nature, but your making the effort for yourself which is a good thing.
people buy overpriced desgner clothes, drive big hugger SUVs and do a
myriad ofr other wasteful things to make them happy, or try to.......
just look at the lifetime cost of cigarretes, while they literally
burn the money with a match, then want health care to pay the bucks to
save their life when they get ill from the same tobacco products they
wasted money on.
so enough hot water is a very minor issue........
:> people buy overpriced desgner clothes, drive big hugger SUVs and do a:> myriad ofr other wasteful things to make them happy, or try to.......
Or maybe they buy these things because they're happy and prosperous.
:> just look at the lifetime cost of cigarretes, while they literally:> burn the money with a match, then want health care to pay the bucks to:> save their life when they get ill from the same tobacco products they:> wasted money on.
WTF, due? Are you on medication that we should be aware of, are you
congenitially unable to make mental connections?
:> so enough hot water is a very minor issue........
Right: you got caught with your head up your ass, so change the subject.
Interesting rant Glen, and some truth to it for some, but what about those
of us who did check them out and found we get a slight edge with a tank
system? I used the links. It doesnt matter if the cost of gas goes up or
down a little as it's a ratio that will still be there. I matched only
newer gas 40g's to tankless of the same output level.
The only 'edge' spot in our use pattern the tankless had, was possible
longevity but this _may_ be offset with the difficulty of repair on a
relatively new item and finding a repair person trained to work on them.
Also, it wasnt clear how stable the parts will be since the technology seems
to be changing fairly fast? (IE: you can still get a VCR repaired if you
want, but I wouldnt waste time looking for betamax parts).
Lets see how stable the parts market and inventory of technicians is when I
need to replace first. If mine lasts another 3 years, the efficiency ratios
and other aspects will probably have changed. It could well be that then,
tankless will be a much better bet.
Could you fill me in though on 'temperature balancers'? I simply didnt
track that one fully and suspect we might need something for the shower if
we go tankless? Thats probably not very expensive to add but this is an
older house and wouldnt have that in there now.
I also need to backtrack my earlier post. I had forgotten my old 40g gas
one went bad when we were overseas and our house was rented. The 'new' one
is about 5 years old but *not* a very efficient model. I am certain from
other aspects of the house, the renters never did any maintenance on it. We
are looking up the book on the model to see how this one is cleaned.
It also clarified for us why we are running out of hot water. I found the
old book on the old unit and it was a 60G gas. However looking at
efficiency ratings, I think we will stay with a 40G or if we go up, go up to
We already talked with a retired handyman who's done small stuff for us and
he knows this type of unit well. He even mentioned that on some of them, it
can be just a touch tricky to do the maintenance. I think he was referring
to the pilot light but not sure? He'll be over later this weekend to take a
peek at it. Don't worry, he's a very careful type. If he's not absolutely
sure how this unit is cleaned, he won't touch it. (He doesnt do electrical
work etc, just odd side handyman stuff like fixing lawnmowers, helping with
regular maintenance chores, cleaning gutters and so forth. Helping clean
hot water heaters is a common one for him).
If it can be cleaned and isnt damaged too much by no maintenance, it may
last another 6 years but we may replace earlier due to energy ratings.
Making an assessment of "requirements" and conditions is the basis of
Making decisions on the basis of something like, "That's the way we always
did it" is what Glen was driving at.
They point Rico was making is that there are alternatives available that
offer advantages FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES.
Analogy: if you have six kids, a compact car is probably not appropriate, a
mini-van is more feasible. If you live in snow country or haul a lot of
stuff, and SUV might be the trick (think of the picture we've all seen of
the compact car with a load of plywood on the roof).
Or, put another way, a .22LR is not suitable for moose, and a .300 Win Mag
won't leave much meat on a rabbit. :~)
I believe the cost of gas does matter. A basic tankless and a good,
normal efficiency tank will both have a marginal efficiency of about
80%. The difference is in the initial efficiency, since the tank has
the standby losses and the tankless doesn't. That is, for any usage,
the tank gas water heater will roughly use the same amount of gas as
the tankless would, plus a fixed amount for the standby losses.
So the natural gas savings of the tankless are basically independent
of usage, and the dollar savings depend exactly upon the price of
natural gas. For a given cost difference of the initial
installations, the payback time for the tankless will vary inversely
with the price of natural gas.
This subject has really gotten a lot of attention. So, I'd like to
toss in my 2 cents....
I have a tankless unit and I think it is great in that there is
endless hot water and it is only creating hot water when needed.
The point I'd like to make is that there are MANY household items
that folks purchase that cost as much or more than tankless water
heaters and those items are not scrutinized in the way of efficiency
or payback. So, how does one justify paying $2,000 for a huge diagonal
LCD TV? Has anyone ever seen a big yellow EnergyGuide sticker on an
item like that?
Oh well, for what it's worth....
In Canada, you can't touch anything related to natural gas or propane
unless you are licensed gas technician. In addition, all work
requires a gas permit be pulled and two signatures on the green tag
for sign-off. Definitely not something you can tackle on your own, at
least not legally and without voiding your homeowner's insurance
Extending your reasoning leads to the energy benefits of taking cold
showers. Next up - sack cloth and self-flagellation!
What a particular person chooses to do with their money is no concern
of mine. That is a personal choice and they're paying for it. What I
object to is built in inefficiency which robs people of that choice
and steals their money with nothing added.
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