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Thread: Gas versus Electric WH?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member ktvaughan's Avatar
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    Default Gas versus Electric WH?

    I have very hard water and see that there are "plastic" WH's with lifetime warranties.
    But they are electric.
    I have a gas heater and wonder if it's worth the switch.
    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    I guess that would depend on what you pay for gas and electricity. Gas is generally faster to recover allowing you to get away with a smaller size.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    There are also NG WH with stainless steel tanks...for example http://www.wayfair.com/Rheem-Fury-40...Fcnc4AodbD-m6Q

    In most places, NG is a lot less expensive to heat with than electric, but not all.

    It's a stainless steel burner, not the tank.
    Terry
    Last edited by Terry; 01-24-2012 at 04:48 PM.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    There are also NG WH with stainless steel tanks...for example http://www.wayfair.com/Rheem-Fury-40...Fcnc4AodbD-m6Q

    In most places, NG is a lot less expensive to heat with than electric, but not all.
    That tank is not stainless steel. If it was I'd buy all you could send me.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    That's what you get for skimming the specs...the part that is SS is the burner assembly, not the tank...sorry. I'm pretty sure I did see someone that did make a SS tank in a gas WH, though. You can get them with Indirects, but that's not what you're looking for.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Very hard water doesn't make them rot out any faster so I fail to see the logic of paying a premium for plastic or SS. They will fill with limescale just as fast as the cheap ones. Efficiency on electric is somewhat less affected by scale than gas at least until the lower element is completely buried. Consider them disposible and plan to change them out before they leak and before their efficiency tanks.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The act of heating water will cause minerals to precipitate out of it...think of the bottom of your teakettle or coffeepot. This will happen whether it is gas or electric. If you install a full-port ball valve for the drain instead of what typically comes with it, you have a chance of cleaning it out periodically. If you maintain (i.e. replace) the sacraficial anode(s) on a regular basis, the tank will last longer, but if you forget and let it go too long, it will be shot. Don't think there is such a thing as an electric or gas fired water heater that will last forever. Depending on your water conditions, they can sometimes last a very long time, though. If never drained and rodded out, eventually when you have hard water, the tank will effectively become smaller and smaller and it becomes harder for the heat to get to the water from all of the mineral deposits. Even if the tank itself is intact, once this happens, you need to replace it.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    I find the Polaris [all SS] at lower temps does not precipitate out minerals because of the massive spiral heat exchanger.

  9. #9
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Somewhat off the main topic, but there was a question about the drain valves on WH. What lots of us do is at the time of installation, we take the OEM valve off and put in a 3/4" full flow ball valve. Makes draining much easier especially if you have a build up of crud that has to be stirred and coaxed to get out. As long as I live where NG is available, that's the choice for me.

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The plastic ones do NOT last a lifetime, they just give you a new tank when it fails. You still have to pay to return it, verify warranty, pick up the new one, and install it. At least, without water in it, it is light enough for a person to put it under his arm and carry it.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    Somewhat off the main topic, but there was a question about the drain valves on WH. What lots of us do is at the time of installation, we take the OEM valve off and put in a 3/4" full flow ball valve. Makes draining much easier especially if you have a build up of crud that has to be stirred and coaxed to get out. As long as I live where NG is available, that's the choice for me.
    When I was changing the junk plastic drain "valve" on my new electric WH, I discovered that dopey at the factory cross threaded it, and was held in by a few torn threads. Built in disaster - no charge!

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