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Thread: Hot Water Heater Replacement

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  1. #1

    Default Hot Water Heater Replacement

    I recently purchased a second home that has a propane hot water heater installed in the garage. It has a pilot light and I don't like having it in the garage with possible exposure to gasoline fumes. I also turn the thermostat down when I'm not there, but not off since it is a pain to relight the pilot light each time I return. Even at this low temperature it seems to use a lot of propane.

    I'm considering two alternatives for its replacement and would appreciate the advice from anyone reading this forum.

    1) On demand propane heater installed either in the garage or on the exterior (South Carolina location).

    2) Electric heater that could be turned off when I am not there.

    Usage is for a family of three but up to 10 when friends are there.

    Is on demand electric also an option ??

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    DIY Member Squ1rrel's Avatar
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    on demand electrics do exist, but for whole house supply, they can involve ALOT of rewiring, and generally cost more to run than an electric tank. Garage water heaters are commonplace, and newer ones have FVIR systems that prevent fume ignition.
    As for the 2 options, tankless systems have better placement options than a tank, and you don't have to worry about the tank bursting when you aren't there. If you size it right, you also don't have to worry so much about when those ten friends are going to be taking their showers.
    On the other hand, at the rate propane is going up, the electric tank may be cheaper to run.

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I'd stay with the propane. It's faster than electric. Electric heaters are in a sense already on-demand heaters because they only come on when the water cools below the thermostat setting. All that said, if the only problem you have with the present propane heater is having to relight the pilot when you return after being gone that seems to me you are considering expensive alternatives to remedy something that is rather insignificant. The cost of burning the pilot light is not unimportant, but you can burn a pilot light a long time before you would recoup the cost of replacing an otherwise good heater. Of course,it's your money and your call, I'm just giving you my personal pro-gas bias opinion.

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I had a whole long post I was going to post but it got lost in a blip where "page couldn't display" I'll post again later...

    But I will say for now stop turning it down, it puts everyone at risk for legionella bacteria... Everytime you turn off that unit it becomes warm stagnant water...

    Search for one of my posts here on that!

  5. #5
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    If what you are calling on-demand includes tankless, forget that idea fast! Extreme installation costs including very costly heaters, enlarging the electric service to handle the high load, frequent and expensive repairs and cleaning, and more. They will cost much more over time than conventional heater.

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