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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Question need new hot water heater:oil, propane or electric

    Plumbing Question:need a new water heater: should it be oil, propane, or electric Full Description:HI. I currently have a hot water heater that is approximately 25 years old (50 gallon Ford with an oil burner) that came with the house when it was built around 1984 or 85. Hot water heaters are "suppose to last no more than 10-15 years at best. I am pushing it at 25 so do I replace it with another water heater fired by oil, propane, or electric. The quotes I am receiving for an oil burner hot water heater replacement are very high ($4000 installed). I have seen tankless hot water heaters but am concerned that it might take some time before you get hot water from them. They are also coming in at around $4000. When I look at Sears, Home Depot, etc. they have hot water heaters using electric or propane that cost under $1000 and have guarantees up to 10 years. Any suggestions? E-mail

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Re: need new hot water heater:oil, propane or electric

    The answer depends on where you live, and what you need. Electric water heaters are the cheapest to purchase and install, but if electricity rates in your area are high, it might not be economical to go that way.

    Propane would be a good choice, but do you already have propane in your home? If not the cost to install including a tank would be very high.

    If your furnace is oil already, then perhaps an oil heater would be a good way to go again, and if the old heater is already oil it might be the cheapest install.

    Tankless are a good option, but if you want to go with a whole house tankless you really need a natural gas or propane version, and if you are not already set up for that then it would cost a lot extra to have it set up. Also if your water temperature coming in to your house is low, then tankless heaters have a hard time keeping up. I put in a Natural Gas tankless, but my ground water is only 40F, so even with the largest consumer tankless I could get (199,000BTU) it still can barely run a bath + sink. If the ground water was warmer, it would have a better time. They are more efficient but not as much as the vendors try to push. And there is a 10-15 second delay on hot water.

    So, the answer really depends on your unique situation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Smile Re: need new hot water heater:oil, propane or electric

    How you use HW (all day, AM and PM, etc.) matters as well. I think electric gets a bad rap, because if you only need the heater on when you get up in the AM, and when you get home into the evening in the PM, then electric works fine even with relatively high rates.

    Although we have low electric rates where we live, our family of 2 adults + 2 toddlers gets by with a reasonable quality electric hot water heater that is only "on" 6 hours/day. Electric heaters are perhaps the easiest to put on a timer too. Add to this the fact that you can get a really exceptional electric water heater for about $600 or so (Marathon brand) with a lifetime warranty on the tank, and I think electric deserves a look.


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