Talk About a Wasted Opportunity!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

I stopped by a new Stanley Martin townhouse development today and was unpleasantly surprised.  The all brick models had all the visual bells and whistles.  You know, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, hardwood floors, yada, yada, yada.  And the prices are great.   I looked at all the nice upgrades on my way to find the utility closet.  What was I looking for?  The hot water heater.  What I found was the source of my disappointment-a big old energy wasting 80 gallon hot water heater-heating and holding all that water that no one is going to use until the house sells.  And even after the townhouse is occupied the tank will go on wasting energy keeping unused water hot.

What was I looking for?  A tankless or on demand hot water heater.  It was simply incongruous to me that in this age of cutting our devastating energy consumption, that a major builder wouldn't step into the forefront of the movement and make this simple but cost effective change in standard design.

Demand water heaters are extremely common in Europe and Japan.  Although they were introduced in the US about 25 years ago, they are only now getting some love, if you will.  On demand hot water heaters heat water instantaneously, and only when it's needed.  They don't waste energy keeping water hot that isn't being used.  There's no storage tank so there are no standby heat losses.  There are whole house on demand hot water heaters and point of use ones.  The smaller, point of use heaters can be installed under a bathroom or kitchen sink.  The size and GPM (gallons per minute) will depend on the size of your family and house. 

Bob Forisano of has a great section on tankless hot water heaters.  So if it's near time to replace your current water heater I highly recommend going tankless. 


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Keller Williams Capital Properties-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Washington, DC
How much is my Washington DC House Worth?

Thats interesting. I was just at a new development in Deanwood Washington DC last week. Now when I go to new developments,I am going to see if they have a tankless or demand water heaters since they are simple and cost effective. Great post.

May 23, 2008 09:02 PM #1
Don Eichler
Eichler Properties - Granbury, TX

Gayle, A good post and the tankless heaters are the way to go.  It saves everyone money even the people that don't live there.  Ant item that leans toward building green helps us all.

May 25, 2008 06:55 PM #2
Denise Allen
Resh Realty Group - Chesapeake, VA
Realtor@ Chesapeake, Hampton Roads

It comes down to initial install price mostly.  If the builder can save $500 bucks he is in.

May 26, 2008 11:51 AM #3
Steve Shatsky
Dallas, TX

Hi Gayle... I was part of a committee that looked into the tankless hot water heaters a year ago for our HOA.  The problem is that we live in an all-electric building and all the research we did indicated that the gas powered units had sufficient output/capacity to support a 2 bathroom home, but that the electric ones would not support multiple demand adequately.  I think these are a great idea (and even an electric unit would probably be just fine for a single person or a home where multiple hot water demands were not placed on it) but if you plan to run two h/w faucets at once, I recommend going with gas or a traditional electric h/w heater.

May 26, 2008 01:49 PM #4
Gayle Fleming
Keller Williams Realty - Arlington, VA
Your Going Green Realtor

Lanre, Don, Denise and Steve.  Thanks for your comments.  Steve, I think you are right about electric vs gas.  However there are ways to get around this.  In Japan homes usually have a seperate tankless heater in say a bathroom or kitchen where the demand might be greater.  There are small version that can be used for this purpose.  I'm not sure, of course about multi unit buildings but I will look into it. I will ask some experts at the Green Building Institute where I am a member.  I hope you enjoy some of my other green blog posts.




May 28, 2008 06:35 AM #5
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Gayle Fleming

Your Going Green Realtor

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