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Old 11-24-2010, 11:22 AM   #1
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


Now that I have switched my HVAC I want to be proactive and replace my 16 yr old natural gas 50 gallon water heater.

My new HVAC system includes a 16 seer Trane heat pump and natural gas furnace.

Based on my Summer gas bill I estimate my current cost for hot water to be a low $10/month.

My local gas company tells me I can turn off my gas each spring and not have a reconnect charge as long as I leave it off for 8 months or longer. Doing so would elimate cost of about $175-$200 per year in non fuel cost that I pay for natural gas.

To switch from natural gas to electric I need to spend about $300 in electrical work. I have talked to a plumber who would install my new water heater and he said he would do it for about that amount.

I would really like to have one of the GE Hybrid water heaters but I don't think I can justify the cost as I have already used all of my $1500 federal tax credit and the cash for appliance rebates have dried up in my state. I may still be able to get a state $250 tax credit.

My gas cost is $8.99/mcf. Electricity is about 6 cents a kwh. The water heater is in an interior closet with pet door (which should satisfy opening if I choose the hybrid option).

I am looking at a Whirlpool 50 gallon electric water heater from Lowes for far less money than the hybrid unit. It has smart energy controls that learn when I most need hot water and a 12 year warranty. Is this a good water heater? Is this a sound plan to save a little more money and get a new water heater? Thanks for any opinions!

ps. if a moderator reads this would you correcty my spelling in the tltle...sorry about that


Last edited by supermaxhd; 11-24-2010 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:27 AM   #2
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


Stick with the gas unit

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Old 11-24-2010, 11:33 AM   #3
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


if you really want to get rid of the tank, get a gas fired tankless.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:44 AM   #4
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


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if you really want to get rid of the tank, get a gas fired tankless.
can't justify the cost
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:22 PM   #5
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


Is the 6 cents per kwh for the energy only or does that include the delivery costs and other per-kwh charges?

As a rough rule, the cost per gallon of electric hot water is somewhere around twice that for gas. Less where there is cheap hydro or nuclear power and more where the power is generated using coal or oil.

But your situation is unusual where the water heater is the only gas appliance and the fixed costs (monthly fee, minimum charge, etc.) are spread out over fewer mcf or therms of gas usage.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-24-2010 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:01 PM   #6
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Is the 6 cents per kwh for the energy only or does that include the delivery costs and other per-kwh charges?

As a rough rule, the cost per gallon of electric hot water is somewhere around twice that for gas. Less where there is cheap hydro or nuclear power and more where the power is generated using coal or oil.

But your situation is unusual where the water heater is the only gas appliance and the fixed costs (monthly fee, minimum charge, etc.) are spread out over fewer mcf or therms of gas usage.
My six cents per kwh for electricity estimate was a little low. If I take my total electric bill and subtract the $8.50 basic service charge and divide by the kwh used the cost is about 7.9 cents per kwh.

My summer month gas bills show usage of .7 to .9 mcf for hot water.
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Old 11-24-2010, 09:06 PM   #7
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


Have you looked at a Marathon electric unit ??

I have one .

Na/gas is a cheaper way to go initially around here as electric is around

10 cents per k .( gas I think is around 45+ cents per therm varies with the

season ( can be almost double that some times)

The marathon has a lifetime guarantee ( against leeking ( no anode needed ), plus being super insulated and not

using conditioned air ( combustion air )you should be ahead in the long run ( I believe anyways.)

Either way it looks cool .

http://www.marathonheaters.com/

http://www.marathonheaters.com/consumers.html

Last edited by High Gear; 11-25-2010 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:36 AM   #8
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


If you like warm water and spending money electric is the way to go.
I have never personally heard someone complain about a gas W/H.
Propane rules. Buy it in the summer when rates are lowest.
Really, If anyone in your home takes long showers gas is the only option. Another thing to consider, How often does your power go off?
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:37 AM   #9
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


I have a 50g electric HW heater, plenty of hot water & I take long showers
And mine is set around 130 degrees
It will cost you a min of $15 more per month w/electric..probably more
So over a 12 month period that's $180 a year min extra cost
So you will really not save any $$ over the year
And actually monthly cost for electric might be $30+ a month
That's $20 a month more = $240 a year....more then you would save in the off season cost of gas

Not sure where you are located or how many people use HW at your house
I'm going w/solar heat for HW in the non-heating season
Last year I was heating my 400g+ hot tub to 108+
....one day it made it to 114 f
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:19 AM   #10
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


My local electric utility has a fuel comparison for water heating on their web site. Heating with with electricity is $14 per million btu's. Natural gas about 70% more or $24. Propane is triple natural gas cost.

This would mean my cost for hot water would go up $5-6 per month to switch to electric with current rates and usage. If I turn off my gas service for 9 months a year my net savings would be about $100/year. I feel like natural gas cost is more volatile than electric and more likely to increase sharply than go lower which increases my savings but who knows.

Lowes has the the GE Hybrid heat pump model $200 less this weekend for Black Friday but I still can't justify that upgrade. My total cost would be about $1900 (includes installation and electrical work and one $250 tax credit this spring) vs $1100 for non hybrid electric heater installed (also including electrical work). Best case scenario for the hybrid is it saves extra $100/yr over non hybrid model. With it being inside the house I would also be concerned that it cancels out any savings by increasing my home heating cost.
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:20 AM   #11
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


water heaters have an energy guide decal. The energy will give you the yearly operational cost of the 2 based on national adverage utility rates.

Based on this decal.... the elec. water cost more than the gas. check the rates for your area & compare
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:45 AM   #12
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


Google the whirlpool water heater from Lowes; I doubt you will still want to buy it.
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Old 11-25-2010, 10:04 AM   #13
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


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Google the whirlpool water heater from Lowes; I doubt you will still want to buy it.
Agreed. american water heaters (the company that makes the whirlpool brand) are junk. if you're gonna get one from a box store, get a ge (made by rheem) the control box on the whirlpool can easily fail, and you have to get parts for them by mail.
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Old 11-25-2010, 10:16 AM   #14
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


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Google the whirlpool water heater from Lowes; I doubt you will still want to buy it.

I know, I have. The reviews on the Lowes web site are not that good either. But are they really that bad or is it just because Lowes sells a zillion of them? I bet a large number are sold to the DIY community who have never installed one and is then having problems. Someone having a problem is more likely to publicly complain. When was the last time you wrote about a good experience with a water heater? I doubt Whilpool is really using any proprietary parts or technology that would make them worse but I could be wrong.
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:13 AM   #15
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should I switch from natural gas to electric water heater


Rudd/Rheem make the Marathon heater and its endorsed by many electric co-ops.

Menards and Grainger also sell them.

A Marathon electric over an old type gas unit I'd probable y take the gas.

The MODERN heaters have such a short life span that you will lose out $$

wise when you have to replace them let alone any water damage from leeks.

I'll take my chances with a polybutyl tank ( no anode rod needed ).

An electric doesn't need make up air that needs to be heated/cooled ( this

closes the gap $ wise a bit .

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