Adding Complexity is Rarely the Solution.

I’m a fan of technology.  What can I do better, faster, cheaper, and easier?  But for some tasks, or given certain limitations like budgets, staffing or risk management, less (or no) technology is preferable.  Which is part of the reason why I am taking cold showers this weekend.

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We have a new home in a Southern New Jersey development built by Beazer Homes. Other than the expected teething pains associated with a new house fixing small problems, our experience has mostly been good.  Until our Rinnai tankless hot water heater ‘gave up’, after only 19-months.  Naturally on a weekend, fortunately during the summer.

While moving the grass, I stopped to move a downspout and heard a faint beeping inside the house.  I immediately thought it to be a filed condensation pump, leading to images of soggy carpet.  I went down into the utility room and found that the tankless hot water heater was beeping and showing “79” (degrees)?

A quick search showed the owner of an online community I frequent had the same problem.  This pointed me to the diagnostic process and eventually revealed the problematic code (no ignition). Given the level of complexity of the device, I called a plumber for Monday (I’m not paying $150 an hour plus the service call for the weekend.  Cold showers add character.).

My initial reason for buying a tankless hot water heater was the lure of hot water on demand.  As the male in a house of 4 females, I thought of a future where I am taking cold showers anyway becuase the tank was empty.  My thought was that endless hot water was the way to go.  I only considered the benefits, and not the risks.  If I had talked to some plumbers (and HVAC professionals), I likely would have changed my mind.  Too complex, too many parts, too much energy (140k BTUs vs 40k BTUs) and constant on/off cycles.  If your choice is simplicity or complexity, make it a point to put your thumb on the scale for simplicity.