I have a propane tank, but am not going to use propane to heat and maintain
80 gallons of water. We bought one over a year ago (114 gal.), and it still
has like 85%. The tank is an odd size, because the regs say anything over
115 gals. (or whatever it is) must be located XX feet from the house. We
needed it as we got a big propane gas top Bosch. I sure like that cooktop.
The roof is yet to be finished, mainly because of sunlight and heat, it
being 110 here yesterday. Yes, ideally, a solar collector would work just
fine, and I could put it on top of the water drip cooling system I'm putting
on the roof. But for the money, I'd rather spend a couple of months in
On 8/25/2011 9:53 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
i believe i could wait until the truck was fixed. i only need a refill
once/year (its a big tank, and i have low usage), and there are at least
6 companies that deliver to my area. i usually call each of them to get
the lowest price (why can't they just post the daily cost somewhere and
save everyone some time?) because there's usually at least a
$1.50/gallon spread between highest to lowest.
Natural gas, yes. Bottle (propane or butane) gas, not necessarily. When I was
paying .10/kwh, the breakeven was around $2/gallon. Less than that (typical in
the summer), it was cheaper to use propane. Winter was cheaper to use
electricity as propane jumped up around 2.40/gal.. However, since then,
eletricity has increased well over 20%, so the breakeven point has gone up.
Well, yes, no, absolutely, maybe, and I don't know.
We live in rural Utah. No natural gas lines within miles. We do have a
propane tank for our stove, and an electric oven. We have two 40 gallon
electric water heaters.
Heating water with propane would be prohibitive cost wise.
At the cabin, we have a gas hot water heater, bought in 1986, and still
going, as we use it about three months a year, and drain it the rest of the
Sometimes, it is not just as easy as you make it sound. The cabin was total
propane for the first six years, with propane lights, stove, hot water
heater and refrigerator. Then we brought in electricity @ $22,000 split 7
ways. I don't know if I could have natural gas brought in to this property
if I wanted it, and I'm sure I would have to live about 700 years to
amortize the cost.
One size does not fit all, just like your advice.
plus a tankless in a area where incoming water temp gets low in winter
can cause cool showers in winter when a hot shower is the most
======================================================While I suspect tankless heaters are becoming simpler and more reliable and
tank heaters are becoming more complex (efficiency add-ons), my bet is still
on the tank, if only for the 50 gallons of "spare water" available. We've
been able to bump the setting on our tank heater to maximum during real cold
spells, but it's a little dangerous because the hot comes out hot enough to
scald. Still, the hotter it is, the longer the supply lasts for things like
showers where you're tempering it with cold water anyway. My wife likes to
wash our bed linens and towels in near boiling water ever since some friends
of mine from my hippy days visited last year and appeared to have picked up
bedbugs and brought them to us. Fortunately we caught the little bastards
in time. So we're OK with the bumped to maximum heat setting. We try to
remember to turn it down for guests. I was surprised that the monthly gas
bill didn't seem to increase much at all.
Still I am sure that tankless heaters have their uses. I just don't seem to
have any. I might consider it if I still did my own color printing but a
tank is good enough and usually runs until it's dead and you just get a new
one every 20 years or so. I remember working in a photofinishing plant
where they had two long rows of tank heaters running 24 x 7 installed
because Kodak had just introduced high temperature color developing
chemicals that cut process time enormously. Enough to justify adding 20 new
heaters and their corresponding gas bills.
From the little I've seen of tankless heaters, they are a much more
complicated device and in my mind, that's not a good thing with gas
appliances. I've seen gas explosions knock down buildings so I kind of like
the long, long safety record of tank heaters. They've really studied the
causes of water heater-caused fires and tried to eliminate them with a
number of safety features.
Tankless spooks me just because the volume of gas fed to them is usually
higher than to a tank heater. The larger the pipe, the more gas can leak
per second. Maybe in another 10 or 20 years. I think they're inherently
more efficient, but that at their current cost and frequency of repair, that
efficiency is lost. I expect that will change as the designs "harden" and
the best materials are found for the job. IIRC, fellow furnace makers still
haven't gotten it right concerning heat exchanger material selection, at
least based on some of the burn-throughs I've seen.
I would like to see a study where they measure the amount of gas used by
a conventional tank WH just sitting in a typical residential basement
for a month or 2 or 3 with no water used. Just sitting there on
standby. Any gas used during that time can obviously be attributed to
the overhead cost of that style of design that a tankless WH wouldn't
And then give that number in terms of $ per month or per year based on
average national NG price.
As for efficiency at heating incoming water, are tankless WH's high
efficiency? As in multi-stage heat exchangers? As in condensing (ie -
their exhaust gas stream is cold enough to duct out of the house with a
plastic pipe) ?
I'm asking anyone who can answer that particular question, which
apparently isin't you.
I said cost-ineffective. As in negligable cost-of-operation savings
when compared to a egular heater, but with a much higher up-front
purchase and installation cost, combined with higher service costs and
higher rate of malfunction.
No, you said they were inefficient period. You seem to have
an inability to remember what you've posted. Here, let me
help you out:
"In other words, perhaps 50% of the combustion heat of an on-demand
heater is actually being transfered to the incoming cold water and
other 50% is being lost in the exhaust, while 80% of the combustion
is absorbed by the water in a conventional tank. The difference is
an on-demand heater is on perhaps 30 to 90 minutes per day, while a
conventional tank might be on for 4 hours a day. But remember that
a conventional tank is on, it's burners are using a much smaller
of gas compared to the on-demand heater. "
Got that now? That is NOT saying that tankless is ineffective.
It is saying that they are flat out energy inefficient. And of course
it's wrong. And it's also why I asked why you are now asking someone
else about efficiency when you're here telling us you already
know that tankless are inefficient.
But that's a fairly unrealistic test that doesn't mirror the usage pattern
of very many homeowners. So what if it's cheaper to operate if you're not
operating it? The point of owning a water heater is to heat water. I
discovered when boosting the temperature setting of my tank heater that the
average bill did not increase very much. In the real world, one service
call for a tankless heater out of warranty can neutralize any savings
attained by buying it. Tankless heaters are relatively new and my
experience has been that relatively new technologies have bugs that still
need to be worked out.
Don't forget that tankless heaters cost more, often require an expensive
supply pipe upgrade and usually come with a much shorter warranty (that
usually indicates the manufacturer's own belief - or lack of - in their
product's longevity). Start stacking those costs against the fuel cost and
the equation tilts in favor of tank heaters, at least from what I've seen.
There is POU, and there is tankless. A 5 gallon tank POU heater can
be very effective - if you never need more than 5 gallons of very hot
water every half hour or so.
A tankless POU may be totally useless in the same situation.
My nephew was making a similar choice 3 or 4 years ago he went with
tanked then realized what he really needed was a larger hot water
storage tank for his solar heater. The new water heater sufficed.
Except in the coldest part of the winter it stays turned OFF. Im not
sure he really needs it then.
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