Hot Water Heater

amritakaurMay 31, 2012

I need to replace an older 40-gallon gas water heater. It's my only gas appliance. I was thinking of switching to an electric water heater since the base fees in my gas bill cost more than the gas usage. In the summer my gas bill is about $10 usage and $14 base fees and taxes. Winter usage is maybe $18. Now that I got rid of my gas range it will be even less. Does it make economic sense to switch to electric or stay with gas?

It can't be tankless because my house doesn't have the amperage to support it. I wash dishes by hand, do an occasional load of laundry, and a shower every day. Sometimes a long shower or a bath, and I don't use a low-flow shower head (I conserve water in every other way, but I just hate those things).

What size heater should I get? What brand? Gas or electric?

Thanks so much!

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amritakaur - Do you have an electrical power source near the place the WH will be located. If not, you will have to have one installed (another cost to you, if your not handy with electrical).

IMO a gas WH has more advantages over electric.

I am assuming it is only you in your home. If that is the case, I would say nothing larger than a 40 gallon tank.

Since I am an advocate of "Made in America" products - my vote goes to Bradford White for the brand.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:09PM
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Yes, I'm the only one here. The circuit breaker box is on the wall of the hot water heater closet- it's right there, so wiring would be simple. I have two 50-amp breakers plus 220.

You think the advantages of a gas water heater make it worthwhile to keep a gas account for only that one appliance?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:27PM
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Gas. Period.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:13PM
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Since your needs are minimal and your mainy concerned about costs, I think it comes down to the cost of electricity in your area. If you have moderate to cheap electricity you'll probably come out ahead going electric.

I don't think you'll receive much benefit from gas other advantages, such as a high recovery rate. You may even suffer from some of gas's disadvantages, such as poor insulation.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:57AM
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SRP estimates a 4500 watt hot water heater running 1 hour per day to cost $10.41/month in the winter and $13.90/month in the summer.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 11:24AM
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Running an hour a day will give you about 26 gallons of 120 F degree water a day, assuming a cold water temp of 50 F. It looks like the cost of electricity is pretty good in your area about 10 cent/kwh in the summer and 7 cents/kwh in the winter. I would say that is average to slightly below average.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 1:44PM
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Don't know about your climate, but you might want to consider a heatpump water heater. They are electric, but pull the heat from the surrounding air. They work best in warm climates.

They have an EF of ~2.0 vs an EF of .98 on a standard electric heater.

Natural gas is the cheapest fuel out there, and will be for some time. But if your water heater is the only thing on it, you are reasonable to question the economy of a base charge.

Look into a heatpump (aka hybrid) water heater.

Here is a link that might be useful: GE heat pump water heater

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Those heatpump water heaters look wonderful but they're very expensive. With my low hot water usage, I don't think one would pay for itself before its end of life. Ideally I would go with solar, but it has the same problem of being too expensive up front. I just don't have the $$$. (widow living in a mobile home, unfortunately)

The water's hot enough here in the summer that I can shower and do laundry on straight cold. In the summer I only use hot water to do the dishes.

I'm very grateful for everyone's input. Thank you!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 12:07PM
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Natural gas is used to generate electricity.

Stick with gas.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 1:55PM
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Obviously you'll be saving the $14 per month in taxes and fees. Beyond that it's a math exercise. The yellow tag will tell you annual operating costs of both types of heaters. Adjust for local utility costs. Factor in whatever it will cost you to add a circuit for a electric water heater.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:31AM
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The contractor told me I should stay with gas because I only have 100 amps of service coming into my house. So gas it is. Thanks for all your help guys!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 11:47AM
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here is a case where it can be financially wise to join a gym and go daily. Hot showers over there.

can you cancel gas for six months of the year?

there are mini hot water heaters. Electric. What you need it for are the showers. Not for dishwashing. Any kettle or pot can make 2 qts of hot water for dishwashing

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 5:39PM
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Nobody has considered the fact that the only gas appliance presently in the house is the WH. If he were to change that out for an electric WH he could then get on an "ALL ELECTRIC" rate and when all is said and done his total utility cost would probably be lower than what he is currently paying for both gas & electric.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 5:50PM
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