Electric Water Heaters

What are your guy's takes on electric water heaters? I don't have any experience with them. To me it would seem more expensive to operate an electric water heater as opposed to a gas water heater. People with experience on both, which did you prefer? People with electric water heaters, what are the drawbacks to them? If you had a choice would you choose electric or gas?
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if it can go somewhere you wont hear it (some are loud), get a gas, tankless. or at least look into them...
randy

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I switched from electric to gas [the more expensive propane] about 16 years ago because my gas company was willing to give me the heater.
Of course it wasn't the most efficient propane heater available at the time-- after all it *was* from the gas company-- but it was slightly cheaper to run than the electric.
The only 'downside' of the gas heater is the need to be vented.[and initial cost, at least 16 yrs ago--- but mine was 'free']
Advantages of gas over electric; cheaper operation [in my part of the world- YMMV] quicker recovery with hard/high-calcium water, the elements don't get coated every year like my old electric. [the first couple times I ended up replacing the elements every year. Once I caught on, I'd take them out & give them an acid bath every six months or so. The transfer of heat is different with the gas heater so deposits don't seem to be a problem.]
If you already have gas in the residence, and a way to vent the heater, I'd go with gas.
Check the tags on individual heaters to see which one will cost more to operate.
Jim
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I had an efficient electric with an insulating blanket. I put in a gas Bosch Aquastar. My electric bill went down 30$ my gas went up only 6$. Go gas tankless
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I recently replaced my leaky electric WH with a gas one, because (a) a back-of-the-envelope calculation convinced me that (here, now) gas is much cheaper than electricity per btu, and (b) I want hot water during power outages.
And gas WHs are more expensive to install: you need a gas fitter(*), and you need to be able to route the vent (in whatever form it takes) outdoors or into a flue. Electric WHs are a much simpler DIY project, and I believe they may be expected to last longer. (I admit I did not do a total-cost-of-ownership calculation based on installation costs and expected lifetime.)
Of course some folks simply don't have natural gas available where they live. And some folks don't trust gas. You know, that irrational fear of massive explosions.
(*) Yes, there are DIY'ers on the list who do their own gas pipe work. Around here it's illegal, even though plumbing and electricity are ok to DIY. And I wouldn't trust my own work on gas pipes, but I would have put in an electric tank myself.
Chip C
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sx460 wrote:

The others have posted valid reasons for gas over electric water heaters and I agree with all of them, although I have never had an electric water heater, or electric range/oven, or electric clothes dryer (I cringe thinking about that electric meter disk spinning faster than a hard drive). Just adding another minor reason for gas/propane. There are no electric components in the average gas heater (maybe they are, or will be, putting computer chips in new hi-tech ones?). Unless you are on a well (which does require electricity), if there is a power failure, you can still take a hot shower (by candlelight?). :-)
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It depends, if you cannot/will not have it vented through the roof and prefer to vent it horizontally through a wall, then you will need a power vented gas heater, which requires electricity, and which cost more to buy.
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
wrote:

There are plenty of direct vent gas water heaters (like the one in my basement) are not power vented and thus do not need electricity.
The drawback is the must be on or very near an outside wall.
gerry
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gerry wrote:

Thanks for the clarification!
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Thank you for all your responses! Since we'll be running new gaslines and all new plumbing, installing a gas water heater won't be too much work. It seems like gas would be the better option.

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With gas/electricity prices in NE USA, it's a no-brainer if you have gas service, just on the economics. (Never mind that shipping large amounts of electrical energy over-wire to your house is relatively much less efficient way to heat anything.) Burning gas to generate electricity to heat water is overall less than 30% efficient, vice maybe 80% w/gas heater.
Having just replaced 14-year-old gas heater, the design evolution is obvious- better insulation, explosion-proofing around burner, almost inaudible burner.
Did I mention that electric heater requires serious service drop, and use of off-peak power to heat lower half of tank for you to get best available rate from most utilities here? Never mind that recovery-rate of electric heater is lousy compared to gas. Need any more reasons?
HTH, John
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On 21 Oct 2004 08:32:06 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@sme-online.com (John Barry) wrote:

All valid reasons. One problem with gas is that if you're putting it in a house where the heater has to be located some distance from an outside wall, you have to go with a power-vented model. These units are expensive and more complex than a regular gas or electric heater. I've had one for about five years, and I'm having a problem which the last repair guy couldn't quite figure out. For being simple and cheap you can't beat a standard gas or electric heater. If you have to pay a bunch more money for a power-vent, you might want to just go electric and forget it.
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I have had both. Gas when you use a lot of hot water would be a good choice as long as the gas is less expensive than electricity. 30% of the bill is the pilot light. I always wanted an electronic ignition water heater. Electric is usually cheaper, no flue, or fresh air needed. Mine is an 30 gallon electric. Installing an timer on it is easy.
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SQLit wrote:

On might argue that the flue doesn't really use that much more fuel than if you had electronic ignition. Why? The pilot does provide some heating of the water. --Mike
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Mike Fritz wrote:

I meant to say that the *pilot* doesn't really consume that much more fuel, in that it does provide standby heat.
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I prefer gas water heaters. Faster recovery and lower operating costs with gas. You will need a 240v circuit for an electric water heater (if you don't have one available, you may need to contract an electrician.)
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SX460:
S > What are your guy's takes on electric water heaters? I don't have any S > experience with them. To me it would seem more expensive to operate an S > electric water heater as opposed to a gas water heater. People with S > experience on both, which did you prefer? People with electric water S > heaters, what are the drawbacks to them? If you had a choice would you S > choose electric or gas?
WHen I was growing up my parents' had an electric water heater, primarily because the place did not have gas. We have a gas water heater here, mainly because the original house wiring was not for set up for an electric heater. AFAICT the recovery with both types is very similar. when their house was built it was much cheaper to heat water with electricity than gas. Here in the Midwest when the house was built it was cheaper to heat water with gas than electricity. (At one time there was even a gas air conditioner cooling the house!)
Another option would be tankless ==> "instant" hot water.
Thirdly, if the power goes out a gas water heater would still work, whereas with electric you'd be showering in cold water eventully. A generator would be an option but would be quite a draw.
- barry.martinATthesafebbs.zeppole.com
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