replace gas with electric water heater

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by young707, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. young707

    young707 New Member

    Jul 30, 2012
    San Jose, California
    Thank you all your comments.
    Now you convinced me and we are going back to gas water heater.

    Its just would be nice if we can easily turn the heater off and on, for long or short trip we regularly take.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Almost all gas WH have a vacation position on the gas's pretty simple! The pilot light, if it has one, doesn't use much.
  3. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Aug 23, 2009
    From what I've found, gas usage while away for 10 days is rather low, about 1 ccF when I measured it. I haven't tried shutting off the gas or going to lower temps (vac'n mode). I also haven't tried to measure a gas rate of pilot only...but consider that the pilot running helps maintain tank temp, so the pilot gas usage rate sets the lower bound. The primary reason to leave setpoint where it normally runs is that temps below 120 F provide a good breeding ground for Legionella bacteria. This is also why I don't recommend messing with timers (that and the lack of payout for them unless one is on electric and has peak rate charges.) Gas water heating is not as susceptible to legionella, while electric is.

    If you want to reduce water heating costs, insulate exposed hot water lines (but not around the flue area unless you use a non-flammable, non melting insulation), put some insulation on the T&P line and its valve, and if your tank has only about 1" of insulation, add a water heater blanket to roughly double its insulation value. Better still, consider 1.5/1.6 gpm shower heads and HE washing machines.

    Insulating lines makes a lot of difference in how soon you get hot water on repeated draws and even on first draws. I wouldn't build a house today without requiring all hot water lines be insulated all the way to the fixture.
  4. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Jan 14, 2009
    Turn the thermostat all the way down, then back up to your desired setpoint when you return. With an electronic ignition unit that would cut the standby loss by well over half.

    That works for standing-pilots too, but it doesn't turn off the pilot, so it's standby use will have a lower-limit determined by the BTU-rating of the pilot, which is substantial (about 5-7 therms per month), but at a buck a therm that's 17-24 cents/day. While not big money, it's not breaking the bank even for a 3 week vacation.

    What Runs with bison said, insulate all of the hot water distribution plumbing, and even the cold-feed within 10' of the tank , and the temperature & pressure outflow piping with 5/8" wall closed cell pipe insulation. It'll save an order of magnitude more money in the course of a year than turning off the HW for a few weeks of vacation time, and save water too, since you'll have higher temps available between successive draws. See:


    According to in-situ measurements by CA utilities in the past decade, in a typical CA home something like 15-20% of all hot water heating energy gets abandoned in the distribution plumbing. Under IECC 2012 code, hot water distribution plumbing must now be insulated to at least R3 (half-inch wall closed cell foam), but it's still cost effective long term to take it up to R4 (5/8"-wall foam.)
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  5. young707

    young707 New Member

    Jul 30, 2012
    San Jose, California
    I did not know I should flash the water heater tank? How often?
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