Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Tankless Water Heater Saga

This saga began back at the end of August. We went into Home Depot and set the process in motion to get a natural gas tankless water heater. We don't use a lot of hot water (there's just two of us) and we realized we're paying a fair amount for hot water storage. We've gotten in the habit of turning off the electric hot water heater when we go away on vacation. Over two weeks we usually save 25% of the electric bill.

The fellow at Home Depot promised to follow up perusing the stock of other Home Depot stores for us since they didn't have any in stock. We were going away for a week and we thought there might be a message for us when we got back. But there wasn't. When we finally got a hold of him, he told us that someone had been going around buying up all the tankless hot water heaters (which were on special at the time). Apparently they were getting new models on their stock list and he'd see when they were available. A week later we still hadn't heard back from him and we went on vacation again.

Down in New Hampshire we wandered into a Home Depot. They had tankless water heaters there and the fellow we talked to was an enthusiastic owner of one. It was a different brand than what had been listed at the Home Depot in Canada.

When we got back, I decided to search the Home Hardware site for tankless water heaters. They had them listed. We went to the store on Thursday. They didn't have any in stock, but there was one in the warehouse. We went with a small model and it came in the following Wednesday.

Then I called around for someone to do the install. I finally got a hold of someone who looked up the specs on the one we bought: it required a vertical vent and a kind of vent pipe not common in Canada. We really didn't want to drive a vent pipe up through our living room and master bedroom. He recommended we get the next model up that had a side vent.

We brought the first tankless heater back and rolled over the price of that into the more expensive model. It was Monday, they had one in the warehouse, it would be there on Wednesday.

We got it home and a week later the installation man came over. We opened up the box and found that it did not come with a side vent: it would have to be ordered. A further complication was that we didn't three feet vertical clearance in the basement before running the side vent out.

I decided to give up. I took the second model back. I got the money back on the credit card.

I came home and put three-quarters of charitable donations for the year on the credit card. It seemed a better use of the money.

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