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Old 02-27-2011, 04:59 PM   #1
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ideas on water heaters


we live in the country and use propane to heat and cook with. but our water heater is electric. we would like some ideas on water heaters like most efficient and most cost affective. any ideas at all please let us know. thanks......

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Old 02-27-2011, 05:17 PM   #2
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The newer Heat Pump style are supposed to be the best efficient out there. Check with your utility.

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Old 02-28-2011, 12:10 PM   #3
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I saw a water heater at a trade show that looked pretty good.

It was plastic.

The walls were about thick and filled with expanded foam insulation.

I think they had a lifetime guarantee on leaking. If you consider the total cost of ownership I'm sure they come out pretty good.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:23 PM   #4
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From an efficiency stand point electric is always more efficient (there are no losses attributed to exhaust).

Propane being a commodity which pricing fluctuates, but always increases, I would say that the most cost effective, would be in electric heaters, the next question is, what is the most cost effective electric water heater, and I would say that given a tankless heater only runs when there is a damand for hot water, then the answer to your question would be a tankless electric heater.

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Old 02-28-2011, 12:46 PM   #5
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There is an enormous difference between most efficient and most cost effective. Efficiency usually refers to the percent conversion of potential energy into heat energy at the appliance level. Given this definition, an electric heater is effectively 100 percent efficient AT THE APPLIANCE level, because essentially all of the electric energy is converted to hot water heat. A propane heater may be as little as 50 percent efficient, to as high as 90 percent efficient. Natural gas condensing heaters may be up to 95 percent efficient.

Just because an appliance is 100 percent efficient does not make it cost effective. Whether an appliance is cost effective has to do with the price of fuel, the initial cost of installation, and the maintenance cost of the appliance. All of these factors go into the life cycle cost of the appliance, and they are difficult to calculate. For example, electricity in my area is about 18 cents per kilowatt hour, very expensive compared to natural gas, which is about $5 per million BTU. However, I cannot get natural gas at my house, so the comparison is meaningless.

Fuel oil is about $4 per gallon (140,000 BTU), and propane is just a little less per BTU. However, to install propane hot water heat at my house would require installation of a propane tank, at several hundred dollars, plus piping.

All told, you need to do a very careful analysis of first time cost of installation, expected maintenance cost over the life of the heater, and estimate the cost of fuel over the life of the heater, to get a good idea of what the most cost effective choice is in your case. When my indirect fuel oil fired hot water heater died recently, I did the analysis, and concluded that the most cost effective solution was to install a heat pump type water heater. It cost about $1400, less a 25 percent efficiency credit, and it produces hot water at a lower cost than a standard electric heater (efficiency ratings of heat pumps DO NOT directly compare with efficiency ratings on direct fuel systems).

Over the expected 10 year life of the appliance, I expect the heat pump to save me several thousand dollars in fuel costs, more than offsetting the higher initial cost of the heater. This is because my electric costs are so high in MA, therefore 50 percent savings on electricity amount to at least $300 per year. Your rates are going to be different, so the cost savings is almost certainly going to be less. And you may have gas available, which right now on a BTU basis is the least costly fuel available anywhere.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:53 PM   #6
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as far as tankless heaters go do they really supply enough hot water like for showers and dishwashers?
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
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as far as tankless heaters go do they really supply enough hot water like for showers and dishwashers?
Yes if sized correctly they will provide the advertised flow rate at temperature, and yes they are more complex and expensive to purchase.

Daniel has made the point, evaluation is important to summarize the cost side of the equation.

I don't use propane, as I am a city dweller, but, all those whom I have talked to find that the cost of propane has steadily increased over the years, given the life cycle of equipment vrs cost increase per year, electric seems to win over propane, but not knowing your costs, this is purely a guess.

If all sources of fuel were open for analysis, then you would have to consider, wood and corn in that equation to, more labor, but far more cost effective.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:15 PM   #8
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Check out the new CONDENSING tankless type units from Rheem (94% efficiency, says Rheem):
http://www.rheem.com/products/tankle...nsing_tankless
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:29 PM   #9
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I have an acquaintance that has an electric tankless and his words, NEVER NEVER! Takes a very large electrical circuit, 60 amps or more. The hot water output is inconsistent temperature wise.
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Old 02-28-2011, 05:25 PM   #10
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IMO a regular tank is still the most economical unless you have a very large consumption. Our house for example is just myself and the Mrs and we use 800,000 BTU of gas per month to heat water. That's roughly $4 a month. With a super duper water heater being 500-600 dollars more up front the payback would take 25 years and they wont even last that long.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:50 PM   #11
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From an efficiency stand point electric is always more efficient (there are no losses attributed to exhaust).

Propane being a commodity which pricing fluctuates, but always increases, I would say that the most cost effective, would be in electric heaters, the next question is, what is the most cost effective electric water heater, and I would say that given a tankless heater only runs when there is a damand for hot water, then the answer to your question would be a tankless electric heater.

Mark
Although using the same exact thought process we'd probably come to the conclusion that electric baseboard heaters are the way to go.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:29 PM   #12
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Here's what I have http://www.marathonheaters.com/

Lifetime warranty to original owner against leakage.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:30 PM   #13
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Screw that stuff get a wood fired boiler won't matter how much electrical bills or propane goes up, need more wood hit up your neighbors back yard.
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:24 PM   #14
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A friend just put a wood boiler in this heating season and loves it.

He has his own wood source which makes it a no brainer , if I had

my own wood I could see using a boiler also.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by comanche View Post
we live in the country and use propane to heat and cook with. but our water heater is electric. we would like some ideas on water heaters like most efficient and most cost affective. any ideas at all please let us know. thanks......
Check with your local Rural Electricity provider to see what they have going on.

About 10-12 years ago, when we lived on an acreage in Minnesota, our Rural Electric provider wanted to be able to control their peak electricity demands. So they sold customers high efficiency water heaters - for $1 each - provided they could control when the heaters actually went on and off.

My water heaters only got electricity from about 1:30 - 3:30 AM each night.

The bottom line is that I bought two ultra-high efficiency 75-gallon water heaters for a total of $2.00 dollars. It was far too good of a deal to pass up. We never ran out of hot water.


Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky like that too.

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