Gas vs. Electric Terma (Water heater)

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cajun jamie
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Gas vs. Electric Terma (Water heater)

Postby cajun jamie » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:57 pm

I'm going to start off installing a small electric water heater, but I've talked to people who use gas. I may switch in the future.

Aside from more frequent bottle changes, is there a plus/minus for gas over electric?


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Postby Jimmy111 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:08 pm

The gas is cheaper than the electric. And you can take a 30 minute shower if you want to!
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Gas Vs Electric

Postby Dan Bonenberger » Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:09 pm

CJ, Based on cost in the U.S. gas is more efficient and cheaper. PM me the cost per Kw/Hr and cost of your gas(natural,propane) apt. configuration, North facing , do you have roof top priviledeges.etc. I am off my feet now and recuperating so I may be able to design a Solar system that could save you money and something you could construct yourself cheaply. Hey7, What do you have to loose. Chau My Friend Daniel
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Re: Gas Vs Electric

Postby cajun jamie » Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:11 pm

Dan Bonenberger wrote:CJ, Based on cost in the U.S. gas is more efficient and cheaper. PM me the cost per Kw/Hr and cost of your gas(natural,propane) apt. configuration, North facing , do you have roof top priviledeges.etc. I am off my feet now and recuperating so I may be able to design a Solar system that could save you money and something you could construct yourself cheaply. Hey7, What do you have to loose. Chau My Friend Daniel


I'm on a hill, yes roof access, lot of sun in the Summer, I'm all ears. Maybe a combo?

Thanks!
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Postby naturegirl » Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:59 am

Gas is better, cheaper and faster, We had to buy an electric one though because of our water pressure. We still have the gas one that we plan to install in our next home.
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Postby mammalu » Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:21 am

We had both, and gas was always cheaper.
Hope this helps.
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Postby cajun jamie » Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:46 am

mammalu wrote:We had both, and gas was always cheaper.
Hope this helps.


OK, now I have to ask the obvious. If gas is cheaper, why is it that everyone seems to have an electric terma on a timer, or flipping the breaker twice a day to save money.

I'd think everyone would have one if they were cheaper.

??????
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Postby cafeandino » Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:26 pm

I don't know anybody who uses electricity to heat water - too old school. It's far more expensive and far less effecient. Everybody I know uses gas or solar or a combination. Good sun for solar here in Huaraz.

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Postby markr » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:03 pm

We have a new "Hot master" instant electric water heater in our apartment. It heats the water on demand so you only pay for the water that you actually use as opposed to heating a large tank which you might not need all of.
The unit provides sufficient hot water for washing dishes and for each of us to have a long relaxed shower each morning though there is a pressure issue which relates to the handling capacity of the installed unit, but I´m sure that there are bigger heaters on the market.
The only problem we have had so far with this particular unit is overheating. You must always turn the hot water tap onto its maximum position otherwise the electric heating element runs dry and burns out. Having done this once we are now both fully aware of it but would be concerned if you have a child in the house which I think you have, they can´t be expected to remember this peculiarity each time they are told to wash their hands.
As regards to the difference in running costs between gas and electricity I don´t know but would be very cautious about who installs any gas appliances here in Peru and where they place them. To the best of my knowledge they must be fitted only on an outside wall otherwise the build up of toxic gasses can prove fatal.
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Postby naturegirl » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:56 am

cajun jamie wrote:
mammalu wrote:We had both, and gas was always cheaper.
Hope this helps.


OK, now I have to ask the obvious. If gas is cheaper, why is it that everyone seems to have an electric terma on a timer, or flipping the breaker twice a day to save money.

I'd think everyone would have one if they were cheaper.

??????


Because the inicial cost of buying the electronic one is MUCH more expensive.
David

Postby David » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:39 pm

To follow up on what Mark said they also have them in Gas units here in the states, so maybe you can find one in Peru.

But gas from all I know is/has always been cheaper to operate then an electric model.

Same goes for a stove or home heating unit.
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Postby Jimmy111 » Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:05 pm

The only problem with the gas water heaters here is that most places have little water pressure. There is a pressure/flow switch built into these gas waterheaters that does strange things at low water pressure.You can sometimes turn on the hot water faucet then when you turn on to cold faucet to temper the water, the water heater shuts off due to the reduced water flow....
If you are worried about your shower, just buy one of those 10 dollar electric shower heads in Ace. The ones made in Brazil are the best ones. You can take a nice hot shower all day if that is what you want. :D
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Postby cajun jamie » Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:23 pm

I brought this topic up because all my life back in the states, we've always had the tall, gas, hot water tank. I'm sure everyone has seen the standard, 50 gallon, natural gas water heater, in almost every home.

Image

So, I was wondering why, after 10 years visiting Peru and almost a year living here, did I just see my first gas water heater this weekend?

Now I understand, in the US a gas heater can be double the price of an electric one, but they say it pays for itself in less than a year.

I'm not in to instant heat things, or wires connected to my shower head. I'll consider solar for sure. Looks like I'll start with the electric one and move to gas.
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Postby markr » Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:32 pm

If you are worried about your shower, just buy one of those 10 dollar electric shower heads in Ace. The ones made in Brazil are the best ones. You can take a nice hot shower all day if that is what you want.

Aren´t these the ones also known as "Widow makers" :lol:
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Postby cajun jamie » Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:56 pm

markr wrote:If you are worried about your shower, just buy one of those 10 dollar electric shower heads in Ace. The ones made in Brazil are the best ones. You can take a nice hot shower all day if that is what you want.

Aren´t these the ones also known as "Widow makers" :lol:


I've already been shocked by one of those. :roll:

Nope, my question was simple - Peruvians are all about saving money on electricity. They use low-wattage flourescent bulbs that can blind you after time. They put timers on the water heater. They flip the breakers off and on to take showers.

Why aren't these people just using gas heaters if it is cheaper over time. That was it.
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Postby Jimmy111 » Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:09 pm

It is because you are a energy glutton Jamie :D
In the states, we use way more energy in our daily lives then the average person in any other industrialized country.

Most peruvians are generaly too cheap to pay for the bigger water heater anyways :?

Remember, these are people who would rather wait on a street corner for 30 minutes stopping 20 taxis just for a taxi that is 0.5 soles cheaper...

Did you find a US style tank type water heater in Peru?

I have had those electric showerheads in every place Ive been in in Peru and have never been shocked. The problem is that most people never hook up the little green ground wire because they dont want to buy the mounting bracket for one sole....
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Postby cajun jamie » Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:23 pm

Jimmy111 wrote:It is because you are a energy glutton Jamie :D


Energy glutton? Yes I am...LOL

Just you wait until you see the monster car I am buying next month. I'm going to be packing 36 mean horsepower in that 1976 VW bug, mister.

I'll probably sport a sticker saying "ain't skeered" too. :shock:

je je
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Postby naturegirl » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:29 pm

markr wrote:If you are worried about your shower, just buy one of those 10 dollar electric shower heads in Ace. The ones made in Brazil are the best ones. You can take a nice hot shower all day if that is what you want.

Aren´t these the ones also known as "Widow makers" :lol:


Yeah, right. If you touch metal, you'll be near death. I ended up brushing again the metal and short circuited all the lights in our flat.

Anoterh thing, we don't have an electric one, but an electronic one. It's small, cost about 1000 soles, but has a 10 year garantee and instantly heats water.
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Postby naturegirl » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:30 pm

cajun jamie wrote:Nope, my question was simple - Peruvians are all about saving money on electricity. They use low-wattage flourescent bulbs that can blind you after time. They put timers on the water heater. They flip the breakers off and on to take showers.

Why aren't these people just using gas heaters if it is cheaper over time. That was it.


Becasuse the inital outlay is more. It's the same reason people get mortages rather than save and pay cash for a house.
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Postby Kelly » Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:08 am

We just replaced our 'widow maker' shower with another of the same sort. This one however, has an all plastic housing and you can actually touch it while the shower is on - no shocking! I'm very pleased with it.


Our old showerhead sent my nephew running, nekkid, soapy and screaming, from the bathroom on their trip here last year. :lol:
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Postby cajun jamie » Sun Nov 30, 2008 2:32 pm

I'm reviewing ways to make my apartment as efficient as practical, and was thinking of getting a water heater timer, but from what I found, I am told they actually do not save much money.
# Turn down the thermostat. When it's set on scalding hot you have to mix in cold water in your shower to lower the temperature, and why make your heater boil the water if you don't need it that hot? And remember that 130°F water is hot enough to scald you. Note though that many people prefer to set their tanks to 123°F or higher to prevent Legionnaires Disease. (Though I personally think the best way to avoid LD is to just get an instant tankless system, so you don't have festering water sitting around in a tank.).

# Use a timer on older electric heaters. A $40 timer can automatically turn off an electric heater when you go to work, then back on right before you come home, off after you go to bed, and on again right before you get up.

These don't save as much money as you'd expect, though. That's because a typical electric water heater only runs about three hours a day anyway, and modern energy-efficient water heaters run only 1.3 hours or so. Standby losses (how much heat the tank loses by just sitting there) aren't that great, especially for modern heaters. (In fact, if your heater was made after 1998, it's possibly not worth using a timer at all.) And even with a timer you'll still have standby losses as soon as you leave for work and after the tank shuts off for the night.

A timer for an old (pre-1998) heater will save about 25kWh/mo. for a family of two using 40 gallons a day with the heater off four to six hours a day, but only 14kWh/mo. for a family of four using 80 gallons a day. (Florida Extension Service) (See our separate page on how to install a water heater timer.)

# Wrap your heater in a special tank blanket. Home improvement stores sell a special water heater blanket that you can put around your heater to help insulate it. This reduces energy use by 10-15% -- for a family of two, that's about 21kWh/mo., or $20/yr. at 8¢/kWh. The savings are only slightly less for a family of four.

http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/waterheaters.html


The other ideas are good reminders, though. Here is a little more information:

Energy required to heat a tank of water


* A Btu, or British thermal unit, is the amount of energy needed to raise one pound of water from 60°F to 61°F at sea level. (Wikipedia)
* A gallon of water weights 8.33 lbs.
* If the incoming water is 60°F and we want to raise it to 123°F, that's a 63°F rise.
* Heating a gallon of water thus requires 8.33 x 63 = 525 Btu's, at 100% efficiency.

Cost to heat water in a gas tank


* A typical gas tank water heater is only 59% efficient. So it takes 525 ÷ 59% = 890 Btu's to heat a gallon of water in a gas tank.
* One therm is 100,000 btu's. So one Btu is 0.00001 therms. (Pacific NW Natl. Lab.)
* 890 Btu's is 0.0089 therms.
* So we've got 0.0089 therms to heat a gallon of water, or 0.0089 x 40 = 0.356 therms to heat a 40-gallon tank.
* At $1.42/therm, it costs 0.356 x $1.42 = $0.51 to heat a 40-gallon tank.
* Another source comes up with a similar figure: 0.40 therms for the tank (based on 0.11 therms to heat 11 gallons of water. (Multi-housing Laundry Association)
* MHLA also says it takes 3.3 therms to keep 11 gallons hot for one month.

Cost to heat water in an electric tank

* A typical electric water heater is 90.4 to 95% efficient. Let's call that 92.7% on average.
* So it takes 525 ÷ 92.7% = 566 Btu's to heat a gallon of water in an electric tank.
* One kWh is 3413 Btu's, so one Btu is 0.000293 kWh.
* 566 Btu's x 0.000293 kWh/Btu = 0.166 kWh.
* So we've got 0.166 kWh to heat a gallon of water, or 0.166 x 40 = 6.63 kWh to heat a 40-gallon tank.
* At $0.11/kWh, it costs 6.63 x $0.11 = $0.73 to heat a 40-gallon tank.

http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/waterheaters.html
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Postby rgamarra » Sun Nov 30, 2008 5:22 pm

Flipping the switch on and off, yeah, I got the same lecture from my husband when we bought our place and installed our heater.

Actually, I just leave it on. After reviewing a couple of electric bills leaving the switch up didn't really cost me more per month.

Now, for the washing machine, my bill definitely went up when I started using that thing.

I haven't seen gas water heaters here, although I did have one back in an apartment in Florida before, which was really rare in my part of town.
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Postby curlyguy18 » Sun Nov 30, 2008 5:40 pm

We have a small electric water heater at home and it is not very expensive. It only uses electricity when we shower and we don't have to leave it on overnight or anything. My family bought it quite a while ago and they paid it off in installments of 26 soles a month for about a year or so. You have to have a pretty good pressure in your shower in order for it to work, though.
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Postby tupacperu » Sun Nov 30, 2008 7:34 pm

Are the GAS tankless waterheater in Peru?

Cost a little more, but the savings are in the long run/

Tankless Water Heaters GlobalTowne is your source for natural gas, propane and electric tankless and point-of-use water heaters by Bosch AquaStar, Ariston, PowerStar and Powerstream.
Our point-of-use, instantaneous and whole house water heaters provide endless hot water, reduced operating costs and substantial space savings.

http://www.globaltowne.com/?referrer=overture_general
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Postby cajun jamie » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:00 pm

Side note:

I found this out by trial and error. I FINALLY fixed my refrigerator. It is 12 years old and refrigerators have a basic system of cooling. There is a system, much like your car air conditioner, where a fan circulates air in the compartments. The air moves across an evaporator where the gas insides absorbs the warm air, cools it, and circulates it.

OK, bored yet? Here is the catch. My fridge broke because there is a small timer in it that cuts off the cooling process and turns on the defrost cycle. The fridge defrosts the ice on the evaporator, then returns to cooling. This is the "no frost" refrigerator we all have.

Here is the kicker. The older fridges, 5-10 years, run a cycle of 8-10 hours cooling, then defrost a number of hours until the timer turns it to cold again.

These units use more electricity than newer units because it turns on a heating element whether the fridge needs it or not.

Think of your fridge turning on an electric heater every 10 hours whether needed or not. That heater burns electricity.

The NEWER fridges have computer circuitry that determines when and if your fridge needs to defrost. The heater only comes on when needed.

Point being, consider buying a new fridge to be more economical than the older ones.
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Postby Alpineprince » Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:59 pm

tarollins wrote:Are the GAS tankless waterheater in Peru?

Cost a little more, but the savings are in the long run/

Tankless Water Heaters GlobalTowne is your source for natural gas, propane and electric tankless and point-of-use water heaters by Bosch AquaStar, Ariston, PowerStar and Powerstream.
Our point-of-use, instantaneous and whole house water heaters provide endless hot water, reduced operating costs and substantial space savings.

http://www.globaltowne.com/?referrer=overture_general

My whole building use's the Bosch electronic gas units (62 apartments) I have a gas stove,gas dryer,washing machine,3 bathrooms and a hot tub and there is no problem and you do not have those dangerous tanks in your apartment. I pay about 75 soles a month and it is sure to get cheaper once they bring the gas lines into Miraflores. When my Penthouse was built I only considered buildings that were designed for natural gas.

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