how will 50-gal gas water heater compare to 80-gal electric?

clermont_ohioOctober 28, 2010

Building new construction. An option to upgrade to big tub in mstr bath comes with 80 gal elec water heater. Later, we opted to get a gas water heater since it should cost less to run. Got in the basement and saw the water heater was gas but only 50 gal. I asked about it and project manager said he'd swap in an 80-gal. Later called to say that no change would be made since salespeople claimed 50-gal gas is like having 80-gal electric. That may be true to some extent, but cost/efficiency differs from capacity. If my wife fills the big tub with 40 gal of hot water, I have only 10 gal "left over" in the 50-gal vs. 40 gal in the 80-gal. This is a 3.5 bath house and as I said the mstr has the big tub. Will a 50-gal gas heater suffice? Should I fight for the 80-gal (or 75-gal) gas? There was no indication we'd sacrifice capacity if we switched to gas.

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If it was my decision, I'd go with 50-gas. If you haven't had experience to compare recovery-rates, I think you may be surprised with gas compared to electric.

Of course check your local rates, but I will be interested to learn if, having the option for water-heat, you choose electric over gas.

I don't see your wife filling any tubs with 40 gallons of 130F water. If she does, you need bigger heaters than you've written about. : )

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 7:59PM
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For new construction, I'd add in a smaller gas tankless for the master area fed by the 50 gal you have. You'd never run out of hot water for that tub if you needed to fill it, and you don't activate the tankless until the tank is virtually depleted, so no energy wasted.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 10:25AM
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look into the new "Condensing" Gas Water heaters.
They have efficiencies well into the 90% range and claim they put out as much water as a conventional 75 Gallon water heater. AO Smith is probably the best known one , but more new ones are coming.
I heard they qualify for different Govt + Gas Co incentives/rebates.

We will need a new water heater soon, to replace an old conventional 50 gallon gas water heater that uses a pilot.

Since our gas bill is usually less than $13 in the summer, and I'm 68 years old, I will probably buy another conventional gas water heater--we don't use that much hot water and the price of the condensings are around $500 more ($1600) v/s probably around $1000 for a good quality conventional one.

Were I younger and used more hot water or had a higher gas bill, I would certainly go with the Condensing one, and it's still not "Written in stone", that I won't!



    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 3:07PM
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