Gas versus Electric WH?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by ktvaughan, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. ktvaughan

    ktvaughan New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Northern Indiana
    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?
    :confused:
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    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. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,809
    Location:
    New England
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2012
  4. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,809
    Location:
    New England
    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.
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    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. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,809
    Location:
    New England
    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.
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I find the Polaris [all SS] at lower temps does not precipitate out minerals because of the massive spiral heat exchanger.
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,302
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    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. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,253
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    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.
  11. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    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!
Similar Threads: versus Electric
Forum Title Date
Water Heater Forum, Tanks HELP - Std electric tank versus indirect Oct 10, 2013
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Recirculating loop versus Recirc pump for new construction Jan 29, 2013
Water Heater Forum, Tanks one condensing heater versus two cheaper power vented heaters Sep 4, 2010
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Rheem Performance 30 gal. Short 6 Year 4500/4500-Watt Elements Electric Water Heater Jun 13, 2014
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Dielectric / heat stopper failure? May 6, 2014

Share This Page