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Old 09-12-2012, 03:19 PM   #1
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New Water Heater (gas/electric/tankless/or something piped to boiler)


I am buying a second house on Lake Michigan, near Milwaukee. The place has radiant heat with a new Burnham natural gas fired boiler.

The current hot water heater is electric and at least 20 years old, maybe older.

I am going to need to disconnect the hot water heater and move it for a drain tile repair. That said I think I might as well look at upgrading the thing.

What are my options:
1. Electric
2. Natural Gas
3. Something tied into the Boiler system, to use during the winter?
4. Tankless (I hear a lot of plus/minuses on this one) (can this be piped in with the boiler?)

For the first 5 years I expect to be there 60%-70% of the time, but then will go full time. I would like to be able to figure out a way to remotely turn heat/hot water up or down. Some sort of wi-fi enabled thermostat.

I have read various compares of electric to oil fired boilers, but since I have gas, I am not sure which is going to be most efficient/cost effective.

Thanks,
Matt


Last edited by fullermatt; 09-12-2012 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:43 PM   #2
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New Water Heater (gas/electric/tankless/or something piped to boiler)


I think in order to have a wifi enabled thermostat or shut off it would have to be electric. I looked into doing that for my electric water heater but opted not to go through the hassle. The savings would be minimal but the upfront cost significant.

The cost of replacing yours with a 40 gallon electric would probably be cheaper than going with a gas but the operating expense and long-term ownership of a gas wh would likely be less if you got a good one. I'd get bids on both.

What are your electric and gas rates where you are?

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Old 09-12-2012, 04:15 PM   #3
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New Water Heater (gas/electric/tankless/or something piped to boiler)


Not a 100% sure these are right, but this is what I dug up on the web.
http://www.wisconsinpublicservice.com/

Gas:
$0.2622 per therm
Electric:
$0.12061 per kWh

I don't mind the initial outlay, if I will recoup later on.

Last edited by fullermatt; 09-12-2012 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:04 PM   #4
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New Water Heater (gas/electric/tankless/or something piped to boiler)


At 12 cents a kwh (it's probably only going to get higher) I think natural gas would be a smart way to go.

How many people are going to be in the house?

Do you happen to know what your in-coming groundwater temperature is like there? I ask because it might make tankless a more attractive option.

Tankless is sometimes a no-brainer, and sometimes difficult. If you have to upsize your gas line, add a water softener, or make complicated changes for plumbing electrical or venting then it's probably not worth it.

Heating water with natural gas is really not very expensive. You could probably end up with a good energy efficient unit either way. Some gas ones will have a vacation mode on them to help cut cost when you're not there.

You said you have a boiler now. Do you know if it can be hooked up to an indirect water heater storage tank? That might be an option too.

water with natural gas with a newer better insulated tank isn't very expensive, so there's probably going to be a breaking point.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:25 PM   #5
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New Water Heater (gas/electric/tankless/or something piped to boiler)


I do not know what the ground water temp is, but this map says and average of 50 degrees. http://wisconsingeologicalsurvey.org...OFR1980-05.pdf

I suspect is would be considerably colder in February.

It is only my wife and I, however I would suspect we would have visitors every other weekend in the summer. How much do people really shower at a beach house?

Gas line should be more than adequate, as it was just run in 1999, when they converted over from Oil to Natural Gas. Inspector commented that it was a good size pipe and could easily handle a water heater.

I do not know if the boiler can be hooked up to an indirect water storage tank. Can you explain more on how that would work? Does the water tank have it's own heat source so you don't have to run the boiler all year? or is it more efficient to use the boiler as the heat source?

Thanks for all the input!!!
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:30 PM   #6
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New Water Heater (gas/electric/tankless/or something piped to boiler)


Conventional natural gas water heater with a standing pilot light. Cheap and ultra reliable. Turn to pilot when you are not there, turn on when you arrive. You will have enough hot water in 30 minutes to take a shower. Not a "politically correct" answer, but IMO the most economical choice both short term and long run.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:11 PM   #7
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New Water Heater (gas/electric/tankless/or something piped to boiler)


people probably shower more at a beach house than during a normal day.

and in the WPS service area, most everyone opts for NG furnace/wh when they have a choice over LP or elec.

running the wh through a boiler is inefficient at best. my last house we had a NG burnam furnace for radiant heat ( miss the radiant heat ) yet we still had a gas WH

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