Which is more economical - electric or natural gas water heater?

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When all taxes and other charges are factored in, I pay:
10.62 cents per kWh for electricity
50.46 cents per cubic meter (1.43 cents per cubic foot) for natural gas.
These are in CDN dollars (which is irrelevant since I am quoting both forms of energy with the same currency but in case you're interested the conversion between USA/CAN is about 1.16 CDN per 1 USD).
Given the above costs, what will be a more economical hot water heater - electric or gas? (This is assuming I buy a tank, not rent it from my local utility, and this also is just looking at the monthly energy consumption of the tank - not the initial cost to purchase and install).
I assume that both types will be equal when it comes to insulation (or rate of heat loss) but perhaps not identical when it comes to potential for problems (since a gas heater needs a void or space running through the center, which means it has a more complex contruction, as a pressure-vessel there are more seams that can ruputure or leak).
I notice that new electric hot water tanks are almost half the cost of a similar-sized NG tank (ie advantage=electric on initial purchase price). An electric tank is also more "controllable" - I can more easily control it in terms of powering it for time-of-day and day-of-week operation.
So I think conceptually that electric hot water tanks are a better way to go. But for long-term energy usage assuming the costs quoted above (or more importantly their ratio) holds into the future - which type will be cheaper to run?
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Everyone has posted some good information for you so far (save one).
I'll just add that there are a couple of more factors to think about.
A natural draft gas heater (one that uses a chimney) can operate just fine even without electricity in case the power goes out.
A forced draft gas heater (one that vents thru the wall and has a blower) needs electricity to run at all. But you can plug them into a cheap 120V 'lamp timer' to 'program' it to run only when you want.
But programming won't really cut down on your losses unless you're gone for several days, in which case you could just shut it off (or turn to 'pilot' only to save having to relight the pilot when you return). The one exception is if you have TOU (time of use) electric like John from Minnesota has, where the cost of running it at night is a great savings.
Because gas heaters have a fire tube that runs up through the middle, they have more standby losses than electric.
Insulate the vertical piping right above the heater (both the hot and cold) to help reduce losses by convection when no water is being drawn off.
Consider getting a waste-water heat recovery heat exchanger to avoid sending all the energy 'down the drain' after use. (google 'GFX heat exchanger' for an example)
daestrom
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Some Guy wrote:

Your electric utility uses natural gas to generate electricty then charges you for the privilege.
If you had to buy your NG at the green-grocer and bring it home in a paper bag, NG would STILL be cheaper at heating water.
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it is possible. And the M-1 can be chained together up to 20-deep for large flow capacity.
-frank
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Frank Cusack wrote:

And 20 of them would cost ... ?
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We have one of the large NG Rinnai on demand water heaters.Our H2O supply from the street comes in at 50-70F depending on the time of the year. We have never had any low flow issues and it costs very little to operate.
We did a couple of extra things to help minimize the amount of hot water that we use, which we would have done anyway, regardless of our choice to use a tankless hot water heater:
1. We installed a grey water heat recovery device, (basically a decent percentage of the heat from the water going bathtub drain is transferred to the cold water supply feeding the showe/bath) http://gfxtechnology.com/ This was really simple and and not too expensive to do. The devices are readily available.It seems only natural after expending all that energy to heat the water, to want to hold onto the heat for longer than 2 seconds (if taking a shower)
2. We replaced our antiquated washer with a horizontal axis machine that only uses 15 gallons of water per wash as oppossed to 60. I hate to state the obvious, but if you don't already have a low flow shower head, now would be a great time to get one. Obviously, the less water you use, the less water you have to heat, no matter what the heating costs are.
After all is said and done, it will take some time to recover the expense of your upgrade no matter how you go. Beside the cost, I would encourage you to consider just how much you can cut your carbon emmisions if you go with a tankless unit (or even a storage unit on a timer). It makes absolutely no sense to have water being kept at 120-140F whilst you are asleep, at work or on vacation. Best of luck, Mary.
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I have been around usenet before you knew what a keyboard was and outlook is not set to post html and it never was. So if this happened it was not my doing or anything within my control. as they say... Shit happens.

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Perhaps because you replied to someone (Jim Baber) that had originally posted in HTML? It is quite a pain to reply to those that use HTML as many facets of newsreaders get messed up. For example, the common practice of indenting previous posters with a '>' or some character to help separate out each persons writing often quites and gets muddled when replying to HTML posters.
Quite a pain.
daestrom
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That's possible but I don't recall seing anything other then plain text.

many
out
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If you're using OE (as I am), I only 'see' the plain text in Jim Baber's post too. But the little icon in the upper corner shows an attachment, and that is the HTML version.
So to recognize when someone has posted in HTML, I look for the attachement icon (paperclip in OE). I don't open such attachments (I'm paranoid about virii), but it tells me there is some HTML related.
Even today, when I go back and highlight Jim's message, and your first reply, they show this 'attachment' icon and that there is some xxx.HTM file attached.
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FidoNET. :) Talk about a blast from the past. Many moons ago I ran a BBS on an Atari ST. Hooked it into FidoNET. I don't even recall what software I used to do that now, but it wasn't very user friendly. :) What a pain in the butt. Then went to running a BBS on a PC with WildCat. MUCH easier. Multi-node with DesQview.
I haven't been on a BBS in so long. Is FidoNET still around?

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It was exciting pluging that old handset into the ear muffs at 300 baud and playing text based computer golf.
wrote:

you would know what that

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It was a lot more exciting to plug into the VHF radio and run 1200 baud to digipeaters, and nodes to see how far your could get before the ACK timed out... farthest I ever got was from San Francisco to Ohio :-)
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Or checking the logs the following morning to see if UUCP had managed to download/copy files overnight ;-)
daestrom
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wrote:

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wrote:

Oh...one more thought.. We used to post real frequently from a BBS called "The Whale Zoo", Lynne Edel (Miller) used to run it out of her home in Greensboro. Impressive setup she had at the time..A C-64, 128, and several Amigas running it. HAL, C-net64, Atredes, Skyline..Skyterm..Paragon...all spoken there. Murder Motel...wow...yea..its been a while. That game that EVERYONE knew on a BBS was developed by a guy from the Magic Foam BBS up the road...Steven White IIRC, and another guy Sean something....the three got together and worked on the module loads...most of it thought up at some REALLY wild damn parties she threw..
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Steve Scott wrote:

Did the packet radio BBS on commode 64 years ago. Still have the TNC somewhere.
Moved to BBS on pc with 4 dialup lines on a rocket port, then switched to webservers in '94
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wrote:

I built my modom inside the C-64 keyboard, and used a software TNC with Digipeat/BBS/Nodes. At that point, Fido was a dogs name.

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