So, a few quick comments on tankless water heater/central heating.
When we moved in we just had an ‘on demand’ gas water heater. Ugly as sin and sat in the main bedroom, but it worked fine. Dunno who made it.
I imagine that the ideal brand isn’t one that’s available in the states, but if it is, our gas engineers recommended it very highly. It’s apparently 91% efficient (according to the energy rating stats) and is a fan/condensing on demand hot water / heating boiler.
Experience wise – I love having endless hot water*. It doesn’t make for efficient hot water usage, but it’s nice to be able to shower, do washing up and not worry about when it’s going to run out. Also when friends stay (rare though it is) it’s nice to be able to not worry about when we might suddenly run out of hot water. It’s pretty quiet – we used to have ours in the kitchen back in Slough, and it was okay, but by sticking ours in an outbuilding (‘the boiler room’ aka ‘the garden shed’ (brick built attached to the house)) we’ve eliminated pretty much all the noise. It takes a couple of seconds longer than it does with tanked hot water for the boiler to kick in and heat the water up, but in all honesty, the water running through the pipes probably takes almost as long. It can heat the water hot enough for it to be scalding if we turn it right up, but ours is turned down to ‘eco’ setting (unsurprisingly). The only other thing which can be a little irritating is if, for whatever reason, you need to run-stop-run the hot tap. Then you’ll get a period of cold water in between the hot water. I’m just used to that, though.
Heating wise (I can’t instantly remember if this applies) – if we had invested in an extra radiator in the kitchen and actually sealed under the floorboards, we’d be fine. The radiators are plenty hot enough, but we underestimated the amount of energy we require in the kitchen (or more accurately, I didn’t realise how much heat having the boiler in the old kitchen meant we got ‘for free’) and so leaving us to a couple of kW short seemed less of a problem than it turned out to be. The gas engineers actually commented that we could do with more power in the kitchen, but we hoped to get away with it because we cook lots, but, err, it didn’t work out that way. Cook lots, yes, but whinge about it being cold also**.
This actually reminds me that when I go under the house I should install pipework for the extra radiator… bother… and that I should order a radiator to put up in the house. Yes. [Done]. Also need to order under floor insulation… Will do that when I’ve found a measuring stick.
So all in all, I’d recommend tankless/on-demand hot water (and in our case central heating). Dunno if that helps…
* To be honest, it’s been over 10 years since I regularly was somewhere without endless hot water. My mum’s house is still a tanked system, because she lives out in the middle of no-where.
** Oh lord, the kitchen is *cold* in the mornings. But a radiator is (hopefully) on its way (bid in place on e-bay for yon’ B-Grade stock).