There's good news on the technology front if your water heater is ready for replacement: The Thermar Power Max tankless water heater fits into a smaller space than your existing tank unit and doesn't cost much more.
Tankless water heaters--widely used in Europe, Japan and elsewhere--have been relatively expensive until now, according to Milt Shapiro of Spector-Shapiro, 4416 Beverly Blvd., manufacturers representatives for Thermar Corp., Trumbull, Conn., now a division of U.S. Water Heater Co.
"With a retail price of about $350, combined with energy savings of up to 50%, the Thermar tankless water heater is finally competitive with a quality 40- to 50-gallon gas tank unit," he said.
The top-of-the-line Thermar Power Max is 31 inches high, less than 18 inches in width and just over 10 inches deep, he said. It produces 125,000 British Thermal Units (BTU)--contrasted with about 75,000 for the typical 40- to 50-gallon tank unit. Installation should run about $100, he said, and units are available for natural or LP gas.
The Korean-made Thermar has a limited lifetime warranty, with a 10-year guarantee against failure due to heat exchanger leakage.
For those with an all-electric home, Thermar has a variety of electric tankless units, Shapiro said. Like the gas-fired models, the electric units provide water on demand, rather than by heating water in a tank. Most authorities say a water heater can account for up to 50% of a home's gas consumption--just to keep that tank water hot.
Thermar units are available at Home Depot and National Lumber outlets in the Southland, Shapiro said.
If you missed a 1978 book called "Painted Ladies," don't miss "Daughters of Painted Ladies" by Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen, with beautiful photos by Douglas Keister (E.P. Dutton, $15.95). "Painted Ladies" chronicled the trend toward multicolored Victorian houses in San Francisco. "Daughters" shows striking houses from the rest of California and most of the other states. The examples from the South and the Midwest are particularly representative. In many small towns in those regions, the houses are either Victorian or manufactured homes!
Pomada and Larsen include advice on selecting a painter, pre-paint preparation, choosing the right paints and colors and other aspects of turning an ordinary old house into the "resplendent Victorian" of the book's subtitle. Even if you aren't a fan of Victorian houses, you'll love this book for its delightful photos.
Victorian houses brings to mind stained glass--a subject mentioned in my Aug. 21 column. I've received a brochure and color photos from Karen McEntee and Ann Skeeters of Stained Glass Overlay Designs, 4882 McGrath St., Ventura. Their work is exceptionally imaginative.
Applications are being accepted through Oct. 31 for Ganahl Lumber Co.'s ninth annual Christmas Wood Fair, scheduled for Dec. 3-4 at 1220 E. Ball Road, Anaheim. Applications can be obtained from Janice Slife at Ganahl Lumber, P.O. Box 31, Anaheim, Calif. 92815-0031.