Info on gas vs electric costs?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by garyl53, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. garyl53

    garyl53 Engineer

    Dec 7, 2006
    Where can I find some info and maybe a calculator to determine the relative annual costs to run a water heater. I have gas, normal venting but the next one has to be either power venting gas or maybe electric. I am trying to determine if a power venting gas will recoup the higher purchase price as compared to electric.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    1028 BTU = one cubic foot of natural gas.
    1 BTU = 0.2930711 watt/hour

    you need to know your energy costs. Gas is usually per 100 cubic feet or a therm, which is close to that (don't know the conversion).

    An electric is close to 100% efficient; a gas-fired system will lose some heat up the flue - anywhere from 50-90+ % efficient, depending on the design.
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  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    A power vent gas is more efficient that one that needs a flue, but they do cost more money.
  5. CarlH

    CarlH New Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Northern VA
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Unless you are in a heavily subsidized area, such as the TVA, electric is seldom cheaper than gas.
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Your local gas and electric utility companies can give you operating cost estimates for all types of appliances.
  8. chris8796

    chris8796 New Member

    Jan 8, 2005
    You also need to look at your utility bills to determine your true costs. For example, while my electric rates are 10c/kwh in the summer, but they drop to 4.7 c/kwh in the winter (after 800 kwh). Gas bills can be equally confusing, some have a relatively low per therm fee, but have a high fixed customer charge. While others charge a high per therm fee with a low fixed fee, which can affect the numbers if you use gas for other things. Unfortunately, there are no easy comparisons. If your looking at the energy star numbers on the yellow tags they are based on 64 gallons day (average household 2.2 people), the average family of 4 is closer to 100 gals a day.
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