Hey Mr. Green,
Should I purchase a tankless, on-demand water heater? --James in Scottsdale, Arizona
The tankless version is indisputably more efficient--around 30 percent more--than a conventional water heater, which is why a cheapskate like me wouldn't have anything else. It lasts longer too. One reason the on-demand heater is so common in Europe and Japan is that they have long been keener on saving energy than we North Americans. Even the Germans and Italians, who are more annoyingly car obsessed than Americans, are more energy wise. Another nice thing about tankless heaters is that they take up a lot less space than other models, which gives us pack rats more room to store all that valuable stuff we never use. For the truly pathological hoarder, some heaters can even be installed outside the house.