GE Hybrid vs. Gas (Tank or Tankless)

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Southpaw134, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. Southpaw134

    Southpaw134 New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Florida
    Trying to decide if I should go with a GE Hybrid or a gas, either tank or tankless, water heater....any suggestions?

    Home has 2 full baths, both on the oppsite side of the house - very long run to the bathrooms. 2 adults and 2 children under 3 years old, average monthly consumption around 40 cgals.

    Local utility offers a $675 rebate for switching to gas (doesn't matter if it's tank or tankless). For the Hybrid they offer $600 rebate and then there is the tax credit for the Hybrid of $450. Not sure if there is a tax credit for the tankless (I believe there is). Also, to my knowledge, during Earth Week you can apply for a federal or state (FL) rebate of 20% off the purchase price of a tankless unit (if your lucky enough to get your paper work in first).

    Should I be concerned by the long run to both bathrooms with either type? Opinions on which would be best?
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,347
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Folks on this forum are very polarized on tank vs tankless. You should read the threads under that topic before you decide. In general, tankless are much more costly, require frequent service and qualified service people are sometimes hard to find. They are limited in the amount of hot water they can deliver especially in cold winter climates, and generally cost as much or more over a long period of time. They usually require a larger gas supply line that are usually found in home. I have no opinion about the hybrid heaters, but gas is far less costly to operate than electric and recover faster. To me, there is no question, but you have to decide for yourself. Just remember that the opinions you get are very bias, pro or con.
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You are in Florida and you aren't looking at the solar option?

    Florida has some pretty heavy incentives for those this year as well you know...
  4. TWEAK

    TWEAK New Member

    Messages:
    86
    Location:
    Bay Area CA
    I'm going with a natural gas, tank type. I'm planning to put in a new 50 gallon to replace my 18 year old 40 gallon. I've heard that the GE's they sell at Home Depot are actually manufactured by Rheem. I like the more expensive one with the larger burner. It's something like $100 more, but the recovery time is better - well worth it to me.

    The hybrid is a great alternative to electric, as it will cost about half as much to run as a conventional electric tank type. But if you have gas service, that will still be cheaper to run than the hybrid. Where I live electric rates are very high (22 cents/kw-hr compared to national average of about 12 cents) so that makes gas even better. I see electric rates rising, but the supply of natural gas is good so I'm betting it doesn't go up much over the next several years.

    Tankless doesn't make sense to me.... sorry. Way too much money to purchase and install, and will take far too long to payback. I doubt if it will last forever, so by the time it pays back, if ever, it will be time for a new one. Many of them won't turn on the heating elements unless unless the flow is above some limit like 1.5 gpm, which I find unacceptable. - lot of times you don't want your faucet on full blast. Not sure if the gas tankless do that as well. Tankless is great in Europe where the homes don't have space for a tank, but I don't see the attraction.

    If you have gas service available, it's IMO not even really much of a contest. If no gas service, I would look at the Sielbel-Eltron hybrid. Better performance than the GE - at least according to the specs. Just my opinion.
  5. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    It depends where you live.

    Around here, it looks like gas runs $1.2177 per 100CCF (for the first 50CCF)

    100CCF ~ 100,000BTU = 29.3kwh

    This works out to about $0.042/kwh. The efficiency of a typical gas WH is not great (say 60% or so). Electric is more like 92%. To compare apples to apples, take the gas rate and multiply by ratio of the efficiencies:

    0.042*(.92/.60) = $0.064/kwh

    This is still pretty good. The gas company here does also charge about $12.25/month for service. Not a big deal if you run everything on gas, but might be a deal breaker if you are only running say a furnace (couple months/year) or a single smaller gas device (like a WH) that runs all year.

    Electricity here is below average. It was about 0.074/kwh and recently moved to about 0.082/kwh. Although the rate for gas is still less, you would have a hard time making up the gas service charge assuming the WH was your only gas appliance.

    So basically, it just depends. If you already have gas and a vent line (or have easy access to run a new one), a gas WH of some type will probably be best. If you are somewhere where electricity is cheap and gas is a bit high, then electric can be a good choice. The hybrid WH work best in heating dominated climates since it pulls heat out of your house and puts it into the water.
  6. TWEAK

    TWEAK New Member

    Messages:
    86
    Location:
    Bay Area CA
    Wow that is the least expensive electricity I've heard of. Here in Northern CA our average rate is 22 cents and our top tier rate is 40.5 cents. And they announced that it is going up - maybe it has already, have to look at the next bill.

    At 8 cents, a hybrid does look pretty good. I agree that if your hybrid is installed in the living space, the net isn't very good. But that's not the most favorable installation application -- hybrids are best installed in a basement or garage. As long as the air temp is above 40F the coefficient of performance of the heat pump is decent - around 2. At lower temps the resistance heater kicks on, so no real benefit to the heat pump -- but still I think for many areas overall on a year-round basis you will save substantially.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
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