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Installing a tankless hot water heater | Katonah Real Estate

On Demand Water Heaters

You could save up to $75 a year with an on-demand water heater!

 

ILLUSTRATION: KEITH WARD

Although some conventional water heaters are more energy-efficient, most older water heaters and many lower-priced models waste about 20 percent of the energy they consume. Much of the heat they produce escapes through the wall of the tank as the hot water sits unused for hours at a time. This is known as standby loss.

Besides being inefficient, storage water heaters (conventional water heaters) don’t last long — only about 13 years. Homeowners can increase the life of their water heaters by lowering the temperature to a more reasonable setting, by periodically flushing sediment from the bottom of the tank, and by replacing the anode rod. Some of these measures also save energy.

If your water heater is more than 10 years old and has not been maintained, it may be approaching the end of its useful life. If it’s leaking or showing signs of rust, it definitely needs to be replaced. So consider your options before it goes kaput and you have to make a rushed decision to get hot water back. Now might be the time to install a tankless water heater.

How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?

Also known as “instantaneous” or “tankless” water heaters, on-demand water heaters are surprisingly compact units. Some are designed to meet the needs of a laundry room or bathroom, but others provide hot water for an entire house.

Like conventional storage water heaters, tankless water heaters provide hot water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, they meet this need without the standby losses of storage tank heaters.

Tankless water heaters don’t suffer from standby losses because they don’t store hot water — they generate it as it’s needed. When a hot-water faucet is turned on, cold water begins to flow into the water heater. A flow sensor inside the tankless water heater detects water flow and sends a signal to a tiny computer inside the unit. The computer sends a signal to the gas burner or electric heating element in the water heater, turning on the heat source. Water flowing through the heat exchanger in the tankless water heater heats up rapidly — increasing in temperature from about 50 degrees to 120 degrees in a matter of seconds.

Estimated Energy Savings

Because tankless water heaters eliminate standby losses, replacing an old, inefficient water heater with a compact tankless water heater will reduce your annual energy bills. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) projects savings up to 30 percent on the cost of heating water, compared to a storage water heater.

Actual savings depend on several factors, primarily the efficiency of the new water heater and the amount of hot water a family uses each day. Also, using electricity instead of natural gas is a much more costly way to heat water.

For homes that use up to 41 gallons of hot water daily (probably a two-person household), the DOE estimates savings of 24 to 34 percent on the cost of providing hot water via a tankless heater compared to a conventional storage-tank heater. In homes that use substantially more hot water, around 86 gallons per day (probably four or more people), the DOE estimates reduced savings, only about 8 to 14 percent. This is because there is less idle time and less standby loss with a conventional water heater if a lot of hot water is used throughout the day. (Hot water use varies significantly depending on your habits. Estimate how much hot water you use by using the Consumer Reports calculators.)

For large families, it may make more sense to stick with an energy-efficient conventional water heater and implement other hot-water saving strategies — such as installing water-efficient shower heads, dishwashers, and clothes washers — to cut down the quantity of hot water used, rather than changing the way water is heated.

Even greater energy savings can be achieved by installing a tankless water heater at major points of use — for example, near the master bathroom, a washing machine, or kitchen. (This reduces the length of the pipe run, which reduces the amount of hot water left in the line when the faucet is turned off.) This strategy could yield savings ranging from 27 to 50 percent, although savings could be offset by the cost of purchasing and installing additional tankless water heaters.

Additional savings also result from the long life of tankless water heaters. According to the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, most tankless water heaters last at least 20 years. And they’re made from easy-to-replace, off-the-shelf parts, so repairing a tankless water heater (not an option with leaking storage water heaters) can result in even longer service. A tankless water heater, with periodic maintenance, could outlast two storage water heaters. If you’re considering a tankless water heater and comparing costs to a new storage water heater, be sure to consider longevity.

By reducing your energy demand, a tankless water heater also reduces your family’s contribution to local, regional and global air pollution. Because they’re smaller, easier to repair, more durable and longer-lasting than storage water heaters, tankless water heaters also reduce resource consumption and landfill waste. Using fewer natural resources means less environmental disruption from mining, as well as pollution.

Possible Downsides

Although tankless water heaters offer many benefits over storage water heaters, they do have a few disadvantages. While they produce a steady stream of hot water, they may not produce enough hot water to meet everyone’s needs if demand is high. If hot water is being used at several locations simultaneously, water temperature at the various points of use may decline. Someone taking a shower may experience a drop in water temperature if another family member is also showering, washing clothes, or running the dishwasher. (The same can occur, however, when using a traditional storage water heater.)

This problem can be corrected (or at least mitigated) by simple, cost-effective efficiency measures, such as installing water-efficient shower heads, taking shorter showers, replacing old appliances with water-efficient models, washing clothes with cold water, and coordinating hot water use.

There are three more-expensive ways to ensure plenty of water from a tankless water heater: 1) Purchase the highest output model you can find. 2) Install two tankless water heaters, although this is a less efficient use of resources. If connected in parallel, two tankless water heaters can dramatically increase the availability of hot water. 3) Install a tankless water heater at each point of use — near bathrooms, the laundry room and the kitchen.

Installing an On-Demand Water Heater

Replacing a storage water heater with a tankless model is a major project, especially if the installation requires rerouting the exhaust (flue) pipe or increasing the size of the opening through which the flue pipe exits your house. Some tankless water heaters require larger flue pipes than those used for storage water heaters. This project requires considerable knowledge of plumbing and electricity and is best done by a professional.

Shopping Tips

If you’re replacing a conventional water heater, you may want to consider buying a more efficient storage water heater. Some manufacturers have made dramatic efficiency improvements. Check out the yellow energy tag, which indicates energy use of the model you are considering versus the average for models in its size range. A side-by-side comparison of an efficient storage water heater and a tankless water heater is worth the time.

By maintaining a new storage water heater — replacing the anode rod as needed and annually flushing the sediment from the tank — you can dramatically increase its life. Installing energy-efficient faucet aerators and shower heads will also lower your water and energy bills.

Tankless water heaters can be purchased through home improvement centers (which offer installation services) and from plumbers. When shopping for a tankless water heater, be sure to consider the physical size of the unit and whether it will fit in the location you have in mind.

Also, pay close attention to the output of the tankless water heater—the rate at which it produces hot water versus your demands. Most tankless water heaters supply 2 to 5 gallons of hot water per minute, which is sufficient for energy- and water-efficient end-users.

Gas-fired tankless water heaters typically produce higher flow rates (more hot water per minute) than electric units. Takagi makes a tankless water heater that delivers up to 7 gallons of hot water per minute, which should be enough for several simultaneous uses, especially water-efficient ones.

Some manufacturers, such as Paloma, rate their units on heat output, measured in Btus (British thermal units). Paloma recommends its 141,000- to 145,000-Btu tankless water heater for homes with one or two bathrooms, and the 199,000-Btu units for two- to three-bathroom homes.

When shopping for a tankless water heater, pay attention to fuel type. Power from natural gas and propane produces fewer pollutants than electric models, if they are powered by nuclear or coal-burning plants. Burning natural gas and propane is nearly twice as efficient as making electricity. Look for a tankless water heater with high energy efficiency (called the “fuel factor” or “energy factor”). For greater savings, purchase a model with an electronic ignition instead of a pilot light.

In addition to the cost of the unit, get an estimate of installation costs before you lay your money down. Like a conventional water heater, a tankless water heater requires a flue pipe to remove unburned gases and pollutants, among them carbon monoxide, which is generated from the combustion of natural gas or propane.

Venting is not required for electric water heaters, which slightly lowers installation costs. Unfortunately, electricity is a much more costly way to heat water.

Finally, if you’re thinking about installing a solar hot water system or already have one in place, purchase a tankless water heater designed to work with these systems. Solar hot-water systems feed solar-heated water to the tankless water heater.


What Will It Cost?

Tankless water heaters aren’t cheap. Prices range from about $600 to $1,500, depending on the size of the unit and its output. Installation can run from a few hundred dollars to $1,000 or more for difficult projects. In contrast, a conventional natural gas or propane water heater costs roughly $300 (for a small tank) to $700, plus about $200 to $300 for installation, depending on the size and any complications. Electric water heaters are typically the more expensive models.


What Will You Save?

Is the extra cost of a tankless water heater worth the investment? A family of four spends about $2,100 a year on energy (the average bill in 2007). With water heating constituting 12 percent of a family’s monthly fuel bill, they’ll spend more than $250 per year for hot water. If they use water wisely, a tankless water heater could save 30 percent — about $75 (or substantially more as energy costs continue to rise). Although these savings may seem modest, in 10 years’ time, they add up to over $750, which partially makes up for the additional initial investment.

Over the 25-year life of the unit, savings could turn the water heater into a money-maker, netting about $1,875 in tax-free savings. Not a bad return, especially considering you’re also saving natural resources and reducing pollution. When doing the math, be sure to include any rebates offered by local utilities and/or tax incentives from the federal government or some state governments. Rebates lower the initial cost, resulting in greater lifetime savings. Check into financial incentives by contacting your state’s office of energy conservation. Every state has one, but the names vary in each state. You can also check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.


Do Tankless Water Heaters Reduce Water Consumption?

Contrary to popular misconception, tankless water heaters do not reduce water demand in a home, unless they’re installed at the point of use. In most instances, you still have to run the water until the hot water from the water heater purges all of the cold water that’s been sitting in the hot water line between the tank and the end user. As a result, tankless water heaters are primarily installed to save energy, not water.

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https://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/on-demand-water-heaters-zmaz09onzraw?newsletter=1&spot=headline&utm_source=wcemail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MEN%20GEGH%20eNews%2010.06.17&utm_term=MEN_GEGH_eNews&_wcsid=24FE5BB810FAD26219151E535C083A3B046D07A2642370FA

America’s Cities Are Running Out of Room | Katonah Real Estate

A shortage of homes for sale has bedeviled U.S. house hunters in recent years, so why don’t builders build more? One problem is that they’re running out of lots to build on—at least in the places that people want to live.

Cities that were sprawling before the Great Recession have begun to sprawl again. Space-constrained cities, meanwhile, have run out of room to build. That reality has spurred developers to focus on center-city neighborhoods where high-density building is allowed—and new units command exceedingly high prices.

At some point, said Issi Romem, chief economist at BuildZoom, vacant lots in desirable urban neighborhoods will run out. “If you have three days of rations left, you’ll be fine on day one, two, three,” said Romem, author of new research demonstrating home construction patterns. “On day 4, you have a problem.”

Historically, cities grew outward, as builders developed tracts on the periphery—then filled in the land between various developments over time. When these so-called expansive cities of the South and Southwest run out of infill land on which to build, developers simply pushed out further.
Some of these cities, like Austin and Nashville, have seen downtown boomlets. But more broadly, the building trends in those metros looks more like Dallas: Inside a 30-mile radius from the center of the city, new home sales decreased from 2000 to 2015. Outside the radius, though, sales are up by more than 50 percent. The same trend has played out to varying degrees in Phoenix, Atlanta, and San Antonio, among other cities.

In America’s most expensive cities, however, that dynamic has been turned inside out (or perhaps outside in). New construction trends in places like New York City have been tightly focused on downtown clusters where zoning rules permit high-density construction. These cities stopped expanding their geographic footprint decades ago, leaving builders to concentrate on finding buildable lots inside existing boundaries. As those lots became harder to find, land prices increase, reducing options for builders hoping to turn a profit. Developers building on pricey lots generally seek to offset land prices by building more densely, Romem said. In many cases, that means focusing on high-end apartments that offer better profit margins. The wealthiest residents are the only ones who can buy, and a vicious cycle is created.

Lately, there has been some give as oversupply of new high-end apartments forces landlords in New York and San Francisco to drop prices on expensive aeries. Still, the broader pattern continues to lean in the direction of higher rents.

What happens next depends on whether voters and their elected officials rewrite zoning rules to allow denser construction, said Romem, particularly in neighborhoods currently limited to single-family homes. Under current rules, he said, it’s unlikely new housing will get built at affordable prices, pushing city-dwellers into a game of musical chairs rigged to favor the rich.

“As long as these cities continue to do well economically, you’re going see poorer folks replaced by richer folks,” he said. “You’re going to read stories about teachers not being able to find place to live.”

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bloomberg.com

New Home Sales: Growth for FHA-Backed Mortgage Share | Katonah Real Estate

NAHB analysis of the most recent Census numbers reveals two consecutive quarters of higher market share of FHA-backed mortgages for the new home sale sector. This development comes after a reduction in FHA premiums announced at the start of 2015.

qtrly new home sales_2q15

Despite the surprising drop for the pace of new home sales in June (down 6.8%), the strong non-seasonally adjusted sales level for April (revised to 50,000 homes) pushed total sales for the second quarter of 2015 to a post-recession high of 143,000. This is according to data from the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Sales by Price and Financing and NAHB calculations.

New home sales due to FHA-backed loans increased to a quarterly count of 100,000 and a market share of 16% for the second quarter according to the Census numbers. This is higher than the approximate share of 11% from a year prior.

It is worth adopting some caution associated with these estimates. In particular, the statistical error associated with the FHA, cash, and VA sales estimates from this data set are relatively high. This reduces the reliability of measures of short-term market changes.

Mindful of this limitation, the current FHA-share estimate is lower than the 28% share determined for the first quarter of 2010 but is higher than the 10% 2002-2003 average. The FHA share has fallen as the conventional financing share recovered. However, the share increased from 10% to 16% from the end of 2014 to the start of 2015.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/07/new-home-sales-growth-for-fha-backed-mortgage-share/

Behold, the 15 Oldest Houses For Sale in NYC Right Now | #Katonah Real Estate

New York City may have nothing on Europe when it comes tohistoric architecture, but compared to the rest of the country, things here can be pretty darn old. The age between one building and the next on a New York City block can span a century, and to prove it, we’ve picked through the 15 oldest houses for sale in New York City right now with the help of StreetEasy. Here’s a hint about how old they get: the oldest house on this list is way older than Canada and lightbulbs, and was built the same year Thomas Jefferson died. Curious? Read your way through the list to find out just how old the oldest house on the market is.

 

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http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/05/12/

Mortgage applications tumble 13.2% as rates climb | Katonah Real Estate

Mortgage applications decreased 13.2% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 13, 2015.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 13.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 12% compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 16% from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 7% from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2% compared with the previous week and was 1% higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates increased to their highest level since the beginning of the year last week, and application volume dropped sharply as a result, particularly for refinances. The market index declined to its lowest level since the week ending January 2nd as purchase application activity decreased seven% and refinance applications decreased 16%. Refinance volume fell particularly for larger loans, as evidenced by the decline of almost $25,000 in the average loan size for a refinance loan,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 66% of total applications from 69% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 5.3% of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 15.2% this week from 14.1% last week. The VA share of total applications decreased to 8.0% this week from 8.3% last week. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.9% from 0.7% last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to 3.93% from 3.84%, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) increased to 3.92% from 3.90%, with points increasing to 0.28 from 0.19 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.73% from 3.72%, with points decreasing to 0.12 from 0.13 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.24% from 3.15%, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.29 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/32970-mortgage-applications-tumble-132-as-rates-climb

Homebuilder confidence up in June, remains low | Katonah Real Estate

 

U.S. homebuilders are feeling more confident about the housing market but don’t think it is healthy yet.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose to 49 in June, highest since January and up from 45 in May. Readings below 50 indicate that builders view sales conditions are poor rather than good. The index has been stuck below 50 since January. The low numbers earlier this year reflected a bitter winter that chilled economic activity across much of the U.S.

New home sales are running about half the rate of a healthy housing market.

Still, builders are the most confident they’ve been since January about new single-family home sales over the next six months. They report seeing more potential buyers shopping for homes, though traffic remains modest.

 

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/06/16/homebuilder-confidence/10574885/

Government’s moves to ease mortgage credit are mostly for show | Katonah Real Estate

 

  • The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Mel Watt, said he would not reduce home loan limits, as planned by his predecessor as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Ed De Marco. Plus, in the most widely quoted promise in his speech at the Brookings Institution, Watt said he doesn’t believe his role is to “contract the footprint” of Fannie and Freddie. In other words, gradually shrink their roles or significance in the housing marketplace in preparation for their eventual total phase out by Congress.
  • Watt also announced that his agency will permit Fannie and Freddie to use “compensating factors” to accommodate loans from borrowers whose back-end debt-to income ratios exceed 43 percent. Compensating factors allow lenders to approve loans when applicants may have elevated DTIs but also have counter-balancing strengths, such as substantial financial reserves, high credit scores, among others.
  • FHA Commissioner Carol Galante announced a “blueprint for access” designed to lower the costs of obtaining an FHA mortgage for underserved borrowers. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan called Galante’s plan, which would extend reductions in mortgage insurance fees to buyers who complete a counseling course, “a win for the market, FHA, lenders and borrowers.”

 

All that sounded upbeat and was heartily welcomed by groups such as NAR, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the home builders. It sounded like good news in a week that saw prospects for long-term reforms of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dim in a split vote by the Senate Banking Committee.

But how significant were these promises by Washington politicians and what will the changes really mean on the ground for real estate professionals and their clients? Much less than it all appeared to audiences eager to hear that credit standards finally are going to start loosening up for mortgage applicants.

 

 

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http://www.inman.com/2014/05/20/governments-moves-to-ease-mortgage-credit-are-mostly-for-show/?utm_source=20140520&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam

The Data You Need to Make a Compelling Case for Inbound Marketing | Katonah Realtor

 

Whether you’re trying to convince your company that adopting inbound marketing is beneficial for business, or you’re hoping to get budget so you can start using a new inbound marketing platform, getting executive buy-in can be a challenge. In a world where people fear change and constantly try to minimize risk, bold, innovative solutions are often met with skepticism, if not disdain. Continue reading

When to pay off your mortgage aggressively | Katonah Real Estate

 

The clear advantages of paying off your mortgage as quickly as possible have changed quite a bit over the past few years. The urgency to pay it off has somewhat diminished, as interest rates have plummeted to historical lows. It’s no longer the black and white decision it was back when interest rates hovered between 6% and 9%, and even the 11% to 13% we saw a couple of decades ago.

I am a big proponent of paying down that ugly mortgage beast as soon as is practical. But, before you go cutting a check to the bank, there is a pecking order of financial priorities you need to address before you consider tackling your mortgage.

In order of importance, here are the places you need to put your financial attention first:

Take The Cards Off The Table: Pay off all credit cards with high interest rates. Consider the huge discrepancy between credit cards with interest rates of 13% – 23%, and a 4% mortgage interest rate.

In Case Of Emergency: You need to build an emergency fund, ideally 8-12 months of living expenses. Yes, today’s job market is improving, but if you suddenly find yourself facing a layoff, you need to be prepared to sustain up to one year of living expenses.

Build Up For Retirement: Are you able to make the maximum yearly contributions to your retirement accounts, 401K, IRA or an equivalent?  Ask your accountant what the maximum allowable is for you and go for it!

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/03/12/when-to-pay-off-mortgage/6327487/