Both Gas and Electric water heater?

I have an unfinished basement. I have a 50 Gallon Gas water heater in the basement. I have a water softner feading it. Home is about 3000 sqft.
In the summer time, our electric prices skyrocket. In the winter time, the gas prices sky rocket. (AC and GAS heat / supply -n- demand, I assume.)
I am currently paying on average $300 for these two utilities from different sources. Gas is the bulk of it in the winter, and electric in the summer. This is after switching to florecent lighting, adding extra isulation, etc.
My question is this. Can I place an electric water heater right next to my gas water heater, and have them run in parallel. In the summer time using the gas one and in the winter time running the electric - to benefit from the lower price per unit during those times?
I would guess that I would have to have some sort of flow back restricter from both water heaters output into the home lines right before a cutoff switch. Would I power off the electric when appropriate, and turn off the gas when appropriate? Would I have to drain the water heater as well? (I have a sump pump right there.)
Or is this just a bad idea?
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One thing to consider is that now you have 2 water heaters to start leaking and replace. They will age even if not turned on.

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Ive often thought abt doing this with my home heating..... i.e. installing electric baseboard heaters in a home that has forced air natural gas heat as well. And then switch between the two depending on whichever is cheaper.
Our natural gas bills were ridiculous this year
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snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

I'd be willing to bet that new windows and/or better insulation would have a shorter payback time...
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Oh yes.... I agree with that.
Problem is I rent this place..... don't own it
But when I do buy a home.... my money will be spent on insulation and windows..... and THEN a means to heat/cool the home last.
Insulation is always the best investment no doubt
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Where do you live, what is your KWH cost, I dont beleive anywhere electric vs gas change in the summer enough to offset gas. I also dont know anywhere that raises their summer electric rates. If you are paying 0.03 - 4 kwh then you might change . You probably need new efficient HVAC . And get a tankless gas water heater.
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Arizona, does. As well as the water rate which inturn raise the sewer rate

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Ohio Edison, rate 11B, Sept 30 to May 20 No demand and 3.5 cents per KW. Summer time, no demand but 11cents KW. There area about 25 other rates available.
I suggest that you contact your utility for a list of approved contractors. IF they don't have any then call a few to see if they know the rates. In our area we can heat electrically cheaper with electric baseboard over natural gas!!!
Without knowledge of utility base costs for cubic feet of gas and cost per KiloWatt, your system may actually be costing you money! We have installed units and financed the systems and the payment on loan was less than what the utilities were and people after paying the utility and the loan was putting left over money in their pocket
Rich
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I know I man that has dine just as you ask. He added the second heater to get off peak electric rates for heating water, added the gas heater to pick up the slack if the electric is off for a extended period of time. He added a pump to circulate the water between the two tanks. In your case, couple the two heaters togather, run a circulating pump between them, and run which ever heater you want.
Now my question, Do your rates fluctuate enought to make this pay off? Have you put a pencil to it and done the math? You may be surprised and find that the gas is cheaper than the electric all the time! Or maybe not! Greg
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Being the plumber I was before retiring, I got carried away during the late 1970's energy crunch. At the time I lived on a farm where the gas was propane and would jump around like crazy due to the oil prices (since propane is made from petroleum and natural gas). Since I had lots of low cost or free plumbing parts, I actually had FOUR water heating sources. I had a propane gas heater, and electric heater. I also had two pre-heaters, one being solar, (for summer), the other a coil in my wood furnace (for winter). The pre-heaters would heat the water before it got into the tanks, and oftentimes, would be hot enough so that the actual tank heaters would not even run. It all worked fine as long as I turned the proper valves, and there were many valves, not to mention backflow preventers. I had to make myself a chart of what to turn on and off. I never had any problems, except the one time we had an early freeze and got a few busted valves on the home made solar panel lines (outside), because of freezing. I saved quite a few dollars too.
There is no reason you can not do this. Just be sure to put shutoffs on the water lines (in and out lines) to both tanks. Then shut off the water, and energy source (including pilot lights), on the tank not in use, and drain the tank not in use too.
Since you already have both tanks, if you are handy, you will only have to pay for a little more piping and some valves. Just dont run both tanks at the same time.
On 1 Apr 2004 06:32:07 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@primeinc.com (Edwin Davidson) wrote:

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Sounds like a terrific idea. Just put a water shutoff valve on the cold side of each W.H. and leave them full of water all year round. Shut off the cold water to whichever one you're not wanting to use the power. In the case of the electric, you can also switch off the breaker. In the case of the gas one, it's a good idea to leave the pilot on. The little bit of heat causes a very mild draft up the flue, and helps hold down rust (from high humidity). In Arizona this might not be a concern.
Your plumber might either give you a funny look (two W.H.???) or might see the logic in it. but it can be done.
I don't think check valves are needed, unless you plan to run water through both W.H. at the same time.
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Back idea Stormy!! The water in the unused heater will get stale. It is best to circulate the water through both heaters to keep the water freash. Greg
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Sorry, folks. I've never tried this, but it sounds like Greg O knows what he's talking about. My mistake.
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wrote:

I agree with this, but I think it's better yet to just drain the unused heater completely, and shut off all energy sources too. But you MUST have a shutoff valve on BOTH the hot and cold lines.
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I don't have a problem with draining, but it seems much easier to me to just turn on heater on, and the other off when you want to change. Thirty seconds and the job os done. Also you have the benifit of a larger capacity of hot water, two 40 gallon heaters equal 80 gaollons of hot water. Greg
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Physically, I don't see why not. You would need a shut off valve on the inlet side of each tank. You would close the valve to the tank which is not in use. If you want to drain the tanks, you need a valve on both sides (inlet and outlet). I doubt if code would allow it. If both valves (inlet and outlet) were shut and the tank turned on, it could be a real safety issue if the relief valve fails (possible rupture/explosion). You really need to discuss this with a plumber and the local code people. Another possibility might be an instant gas hot water heater (i.e. tank less hot water heater)in series with the hot water heater.
snipped-for-privacy@primeinc.com (Edwin Davidson) wrote in message

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Actually, I am in Missouri. South West Missouri.
The Gas Folks just announce that, while they are very profitable, they will be increasing our rates around 20% soon.
I've got all my utility bills for the last 10 years, so I will do the math and write back here what I find out.
Last month my Gas bill was $130. This month $80. Of this $80, $65 is for the Gas while the rest is *taxes* of one sort or another. Some of these taxes are a percentage, some are flat fees.
Electric was $180 this month.
Some have suggested a new high effeciency HVAC. This home is 5 years old. Would I there really be a difference? The HVAC does say high effeciency on it. The windows are double pain. The home has a lot of isulation in it. I watched them build it. I have an electric range and fridge. I am guessing, next to the HVAC, these take the most to power. The range is a low end unit, as is the fridge. The fridge is 11 years old.
I gotta believe there are some easy ways to get my energy costs down without going overboard (heat pump, solar...)
Edwin Davidson.
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Trouble is, allot of that energy saving equipment costs so much more the "standard" efficiancy that you will never recover the extra cost! Greg
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