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Thread: What are some of the drawbacks of switching over from gas WH to Electric?

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Default What are some of the drawbacks of switching over from gas WH to Electric?

    Since my issue with venting of my gas water heater does not seem to be able to be solved by plumbers who have looked at it I am thinking seriously of switching over from gas to electric. Other than the obvious rise in my electric bill, is there any drawbacks? Can I swap a 40 gallon gas with a 40 gallon electric? Does the water stay warmer in a gas WH?


    Anything you can think of???


    Peace of mind is important to me right now for my families safety and the fumes I get from the gas water heater are not good....I'm afraid of spending a lot of money on trying to "maybe" fix things and I know an electric one takes all the venting right out of the equation



    Is one brand of electric water heater better than others?


    Thanks

  2. #2
    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    1. Gas has a bettery recovery rate.
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member curlysir's Avatar
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    I would go up one size because of the slower recover rate.

    Will cost more to heat the water.

    Is your house wired for the additional electrical load? If not that could be a major cost, might be more then the heater cost.

    Can the water heater be relocated somewhere close and get the proper venting. That would probably be the cheapest.

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    how many people live in the home...

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Another way of saying it is that the first hour delivery rate of a gas unit will be higher than electric. Once the tank is up to temp, you can get about 70% of that out before it mixes enough and the water starts to noticably cool off. With a gas unit, it has more heat available to maintain the temp than an electric unit does. So, if you start with a bigger tank, you get that extra out of it. 10-more gallons at a 2gpm shower rate is 5-minute longer shower before it starts to cool off than the smaller gas unit.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys

    Family of 4 2 teenage boys who take showers in the morning before school..generally not more than 10 minutes long

    Wife is currently deployed so just 3 of us right now....

    Talked to a plumber tonight who installs Bradford Whites...said he could install a 50 gallon electric for 700 dollars which sounds reasonable to me. Currently at a 40 gallon


    He said my electric bill would probably go up maybe 40-50 bucks a month....we have a dishwasher also.


    His first reaction was that Sears should come out and make this water heater right but after dealing with the nincompoops they have sent out so far my confidence in them is shattered..I do not feel like rolling the Sears dice again


    I explained how the fumes are coming out when it was running and how I was getting some soot on the draft hood and he thought the water heater was just messed up..is it possible to get 2 junk water heaters in a row?


    I have 2 open spots in my breaker box..I was told that was all I'd need......I think I am set with an electrician, I think he is just waiting on the word


    I know that this might not be a move that a lot of people agree with but for whatever reason this AO Smith/State/Kenmore gas water heater is not functioning correctly and I'm worried sick over my families safety..the electric water heater seems to solve all problems here except it will come with an added hit to the wallet monthly.....

    Is it worth peace of mind sleeping soundly? I think so ...but...

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    See if you can get a powervent to work out the sidewall. Retain the efficency of gas, and sealed flue.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Costwise I'm not sure if I can afford the powervent..those are quite expensive arent they?

  9. #9
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtxdude View Post
    Costwise I'm not sure if I can afford the powervent..those are quite expensive arent they?
    Not expensive compared to the difference in cost of a few year's worth of electric vs. gas hot water for a family of 4 in most markets.

    How much are you paying for electricity per kwh, and how much for gas per therm/ccf/decatherm, whatever?

  10. #10
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    NH has nasty electric rates, some of the highest in the US. Gas would end up being cheaper. Depends on how they can run the vent as to the installation costs. Those have very specific maximum distances, and number of elbows, etc. that are allowed. You might be able to use part of the existing vent and go out the roof, or a shorter route out the sidewall with all new...depends on exactly what's there now, where it is located, window and door openings, and probably other considerations. They generally are more efficient, though. Neither a power vent nor an electric will work during a power outage, where you current gas unit will if that is a consideration. The big thing is the vent is sealed to the outside, so it should not leak combustion gasses, which is your main worry with what you have now. I'm just down the street, and my last bill was for 502KwHr - something like $82 or so.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Well a powervent is out of the question as my association said I could switch to electric as it does not alter the outside of the building.....in other words I am not allowed to put an extra exhaust outside

    I'm going to go with the 50 gallon Bradford White Electric...it seems to have great efficiency at .92...we just will be judicious with our shower lengths...one stepson going into the Air Force in June and the other spends his summers with his Dad so that will cut back on consumption quite a bit


    In a perfect scenario I would love to get a gas water heater working correctly but with the fumes and nobody being able to solve it this seems to be a problem eliminator. Peace of mind knowing my family can sleep safely at night goes a long way

    Gas hookup will still be there so if I ever decide to try again or the next owner wants to convert back to gas it won't be that difficult




    I will never ever purchase a water heater etc from Sears or a box store...only through a plumber I trust and someone who takes pride in their work as I can tell the plumbers here do

  12. #12
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You'd have to read the installation info (or talk to an knowledgable plumber - not me!) - you might be able to use the existing flue with a powervent. If it is the right size and isn't too long a run, and within the limits of the number of elbows (each elbow adds an equivalent length to the equation).

    Every association is different, but a hard/fast rule on this seems a little rigid. Often, the new vent is similar to a dryer vent. Mine for my boiler is hidden by some shrubs, and except for the steam in the winter, you'd never notice it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  13. #13
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    I am about as far from your location as it is possible to get, otherwise I would LOVE to check it out. You are trying to cure a problem by eliminating the symptoms, but there is absolutely NO REASON why your problem cannot be cured without the Draconian step of going electric. I do not know what kind of plumbers you have in NH, but any good plumber with diagnostic skills should be able to fix it.

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    I wish you were a lot closer to HJ because I know it probably could be fixed. I have had this ongoing saga for over a month and it is wearing on me...I have missed so much time at work it is not even funny...I have had the HVAC guys out here, they have eliminated the negative air pressure issue, reworked the flue and it has a lot more pitch than it did before and I still have the combustion smell issue....one of the symptoms I read in the manual is not enough secondary air..ok so i tried running it with my cellar door to the outside wide open with tons of air flowing in......still get combustion smell...I don't get it.....

    My next step is to contact Sears and fight like hell to get them to take this out of here...you guys have seen my pics and I have documented all the missteps the "plumbers" they have sent out here plus the Sears service tech who pretty much had no idea. They have had 2 water heaters, 2 different plumbers and the tech...the first guy had no idea why it wasn't venting right so decided "bad" heater and installed another one with probably the messiest/worst soldering job you guys have ever seen...called Sears and complained that no resolution with 2nd heater.....they send out another contractor who says "Oh you need 4 inch venting, 3 inch is too small to handle all this air" Who am I to disagree? I'm just some schmuck who wants his 1000 dollar installed water heater to work properly. So they put the venting in and you guys saw the pictures of how they attached it to the "Tee" I would have had no idea except for the HVAC guy coming out going "who the bleep hooked this up???"

    So my beef with Sears is I paid to have a gas water heater professionally installed and to be in functioning order...they failed on both accounts.....you guys hit it on the head with comments on how they hooked up that 4" pipe to the Tee...absolutely absurd...I am gonna try to recoup as much money as I can out of this..I'm sure it will be an uphill battle but i'm gonna do my best

    Sorry for the rant and I really appreciate everyone's input...it is truly a great place to learn ...one major thing i have learned is to never use a big store for plumbing needs again...I will use an independent professional plumber such as the peeps here and make sure the job is done right the first time

  15. #15
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default Sears

    Call Sears and insist on speaking to someone with authority, not just some telemarketing person, and tell HIM what you have told us, and INSIST that he get a competent, qualified technician or you will be contacting the city building department so they can see what your problem is and THEY, or your contractor registration department, should be able to get it done.

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