Consumer info and advice

A source for useful news and updates on consumer topics including environmentalism, economics, and lifestyle. 

Going Tankless: A Consumer’s Intro Tankless water heaters started out as a niche product for people living off the grid. They could provide heated water without having constant feed of utilities, which made them ideal for solar batteries or small supplies of propane. Now, they’ve become the efficient alternative to traditional tank-based water heaters–so much so that they’re the focus of a new government efficiency program.

While the government rarely gets involved at such a mundane level of homeowner purchases (they usually adopt a more general “efficiency” push), the EPA has teamed up with state agencies to really push tankless water heaters as a specific improvement. So, what do consumers need to know about these newer systems?

Tankless water heaters are often referred to as “continuous” systems. That’s because they heat water as it passes through the heater, rather than keeping lots of water in reserve. As a result, you’re using much less fuel throughout the day, since the heating element only kicks on when hot water is called for.

Now, tankless water heaters used to have a fairly poor reputation, since early models were slow to respond and produced only a meager supply of heated water. Current models, on the other hand, don’t feel much different than an old-fashioned tank heater. In fact, many people find that they’re more convenient, since you don’t have to worry about hitting the bottom of your tank.

Since they save lots of energy without compromising function, the EPA recommends that all new water heater installations be tankless. You can save up to 50% on your heating bill by installing tankless heaters in your home, according to EPA figures.

This is something you should consider in 2016, since the Obama Administration has now made Federal funding available to several state efficiency programs. You can find quite a few grant opportunities, as well as steep discounts and tax credits by participating in an efficiency program like this. The new EPA program is helping make big upgrades less of a big burden on you bank account.

Of course, none of these programs are mandatory, and there is no required timeline for upgrading your existing system. However, consumers should be advised that as tankless systems become the norm, Federally-funded programs such as these will probably be phased out. So, in short, if you’ve been thinking about upgrading, now is the time to act!

Find out more about the government programs, and see more detailed specs on the savings and cost benefits associated with tankless water heaters here: If you need more advice on how to find the best electric tankless water heater, check out this site at


New Prius Hits Highest MPG Ever Recorded:

This week, Consumer Reports announced that the latest update to Toyota’s Prius lineup has achieved the highest mileage ever tested by the organization. It sipped a very impressive 53 mpg on the highway, and returned a staggering 59 mpg in the city. The latest Prius now passes the 2000 Honda Insight as the most efficient vehicle on the market. It’s even more impressive given that it’s much bigger than the Insight (as well as the previous Prius). In overall performance, it actually improves by almost 10 miles per gallon! While reviewers from Consumer Reports and other publications were quick to comment that the vehicle’s looks haven’t improved much in the past 10 years, they praised the Prius’s continuing improvement in the efficiency department, and also maintained its extremely high reliability ratings. We’re sure to see some more impressive mileage stories this year, what with the EPA’s new standards going into effect in just over 3 years, for 2020.