Hot water heater

jmkrafczykMay 29, 2011

I need to replace my hot water heater and need advice on what type to get. For background we have 7 people in our house. We currently have a electric hot water heater. At most we have 2 showers running and the washer set to warm water. We do have propane but would have to run a line to where our heater is. I want the most economical solution for the long run.

One company is pushing tankless propane stating they can now get 9 gpm out of them. I have also read if you are turning hot water off and on they are not as economical.

I have also thought about heat pump/electrical but concerned about the height. Cor should I go with propane or electric tank?

I would appreciate any feedback.

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brickeyee

Do not forget the need for a flue with a propane heater.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 9:43AM
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jmkrafczyk

Anyone else?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 12:37PM
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justalurker

What size is your current electric water heater and has it been doing a satisfactory job?

If you Google around you'll find more info on tankless heaters than you can read.

For starters they are expensive. Second, they require higher volume gas lines than a conventional tank style water heater and unique vents which are costly. Third, tankless water heaters do not work and play well if you have hard water.

Those are all important preliminary considerations.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 1:13PM
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jmkrafczyk

Current size is 80 gallon. We do have hard water but have a water softener.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:37PM
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justalurker

If your softener is correctly sized and set up properly for efficient operation then you've got that covered.

Again, has you current water heater been doing a satisfactory job?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 3:21PM
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jmkrafczyk

Yes but expensive electric bills and after 3rd shower of morning not much hot water.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 3:41PM
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justalurker

Then it hasn't been doing a satisfactory job, has it?

I can tell you that around here it costs less to heat water with LP than electricity and the LP heaters seem to recover a little quicker.

If you get a concise estimate for a tankless including the necessary vent and gas line you might be shocked and that may make up your mind for you.

With 7 people in your home you might look into two LP tank heaters in parallel.

It's VERY rare to see a softener that is correctly sized and set up for 7 people so you should get some water hardness test strips and check if your softener is actually providing you with 0 hardness water cause that may be why you are replacing your current electric water heater.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 4:27PM
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cakequeen

Have you considered switching to low water use faucets? That might cut down on water use, amount of hot water that needs to be replaced and electric bills all in one. I put in some new low water grohe shower heads and control valves and can't really tell the difference in water volume but I can see the difference in my water and heating bills.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 1:06AM
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ramona1976

In our area, propane is over $3 per gallon in summer and over $4 in winter, making electric heating the clear choice. Every water heater has an energy factor number associated with it. Most electrics are around .90, while most propane units are around .60. You can use these numbers, along with the cost of energy in your area, to compare the relative cost of operation for each type of heater.

For the electric heater, take the energy factor for the water heater that you are considering and multiply by 0.003412. Now take the cost per kilowatt that you are paying for electricity, and divide it by the first number.

For the propane heater, take the energy factor for the water heater that you are considering and multiply by 0.091333. Then take the cost per gallon that you are paying for propane, and divide it by the first number.

The two results that you get are the relative fuel cost per million BTU's for each heater.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 1:11PM
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ionized_gw

Check the DOE's web resources for good water heater information. Where do you live? If it is hot and humid there, a heat pump water heater might make sense. If you are in a warm, sunny environment, and tax advantages are generous, solar might make sense. If you are going to make a choice between propane and resistance electric, check out this worksheet to compare methods.

http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13010

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 3:09PM
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Schmoll

Most people look into a solar hot water heater because they want to save money on their heating bills. With this in mind a solar hot water heater will help to reduce your bills by pre-heating water that goes into your traditional boiler. It is unlikely that the system will be able to heat the water to such an extent that the boiler is not needed so although you will save some money on your bills it is unlikely that you will cut them out altogether. plumbing vancouver

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 4:44AM
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