It’s totally goofy, but I love my water heater. It’s an "on demand" (also called tankless) unit, so it only turns on when I need to do the dishes or wash some clothes, or do both at the same time, even. I like that it doesn’t heat a big tank of water 24/7 on the off chance that I’ll need it at any moment. Thus it’s small, and when it does turn on it’s efficient. When not in use, it’s completely off. Even though it runs on gas, it has no eternally burning pilot light, and I like that, too. It’s three years old now and I’ve never had any issues with it.

Ubiquitous in Europe and elsewhere, tankless water heaters are gaining popularity in the U.S. too. So if you’re in the market for a new water heater and don’t have the resources for a solar domestic hot water system, have a look: Rinnai seems to be the best manufacturer. These units save space and resources — and over time, money.