Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some Notes for today

  • I've wanted a tankless water heater forever.  But I've always run up against the problem of the initial costs.  The actual device is incredibly expensive and at least in my house, you can't just swap it out with the old tank heater.  Here's another analysis that seems to make the same points.  I think the real question is:  Why are these things so expensive?  I'd love to know.  Reddit seems to think the tankless water heaters aren't yet ready for prime time either.
  • I haven't had much time to read Carl Zimmer's stuff lately, but it still looks interesting.  He seems to be continuing his parasite obsession (which is neat), and I honestly don't think I understand lethal mutagenesis yet.
  • I find it fascinating that we track the killing of an animal as abundant as deer to the degree that there is a reasonable expectation that we should know who killed a particular animal.  And as a result, not knowing who shot the huge mule deer at Cabela's in Kansas City is a mystery.
  • The people involved in the anti-vaccine movement are completely off their rockers.  At what point does feeding your disabled kids industrial chemicals become reckless endangerment?  Is someone calling SRS for these kids?
  • Bad Astronomy is not something I read regularly anymore.  Maybe I should.  Here's a video of the moon circling the earth from the Deep Impact.  This is more impressive than I thought it would be.


Anonymous said...

Man, I've been looking at that too, but haven't yet made the plunge. There's also some that come out that effectively have a heat pump on top to make the efficiency even more. What do you think? -DC

JL said...

- The problem is that I only spend about 20 bucks a month on hot water, so even if I improve the efficiency by, say 75% (which doesn't actually seem likely), I'm only saving 15 bucks a month. From what I've seen, the difference just in equipment cost is between $900 and $1500 (i.e., 5 to 8.3 years till break even) and for gas you have to install a flue system (for electric I'd have to install a lot more). The estimate of those additional installation costs will approximately double the extra cost. As a result, we're looking at between 10-16.6 years till payoff, and although the article I linked to suggests a 20 year life for these heaters, my word-of-mouth evidence suggests that is optimistic.

Secondly, I think a more realistic savings would be 10%, which changes that analysis from 10-16.6 years till break even to 15-21 years.

Basically, I'm not sure its a slam dunk financially (it gets worse if you consider I probably won't live in this house more than 5 years and they might not improve resale). So I've got to do it because I just really want to (and I do), but I don't have the money to spend on stuff I just really want.

JL said...

But hey, let me know if you do it. I definitely want to know how it works.