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Apparently, if I want to replace the aging, oversized and inefficient electric water heater in the new house, I can go with a super-efficient, half-the-size natural gas water heater. The cost will be about $700. The annual savings in utility bill will be about $400. Don't even have to think about that one. (Keeping 80 gallons of water hot = $$$.)
Especially since I only take a full bath when there's a full moon. (It's the whole "matted fur" thing.) - Jkram|ɯɐɹʞſ
Is that 80 gallons for the old or the new one? - Stephan Planken from iPhone
The old one has the 80 gallon tank, Stephan. I knew it was old when I toured the house, but I had no idea it was from NINETEEN SEVENTY TWO! Apparently it was the Cadillac of water heaters in its time, with a fiberglass tank lining and quality construction. But efficiencies have changed over that time, and electric power has gone up a LOT faster than natural gas. I'm planning to replace it with a high efficiency 40 gallon natural gas model. - Jkram|ɯɐɹʞſ
Have you checked into instant water heaters? They don't hold water hot, so you eliminate pointless cycling all together and when you want hot water there's no waiting and no limit on how long the water will be hot. Plus, natural gas is cheap but horribly dirty. - Heather, 30k Camper
We went through the same but opted to keep it propane (we live in the sticks). A good choice in hindsight with the way electricity has been fluctuating in our area. - Stephan Planken from iPhone
I did Heather. But what I was told (so far, at least) is that they require annual maintenance that offsets the energy savings. I don't know the specifics, but evidently it has to be performed by a certified heating and plumbing person, ergo it is a few hundred bucks a year. I'd still consider it, but I believe they are supplemental units, so I'd still need to swap out the main water heater. As for natural gas vs. electricity, the amount of electricity the old unit is using is probably from a natural gas or coal fueled power plant. Power plants are more efficient than an individual water heater, I'm sure, but the differential in actual energy consumed probably offsets that efficiency differential a lot. I'll be happy to go "off-the-grid" entirely, but until that option becomes a lot more affordable, I have to make incremental changes. Electricity generation in the upper midwest has a long way to go in getting "clean." I first saw one of the "on-demand" water heater units when I was visiting family in Germany about 30 years ago, and was very intrigued by the technology. I hope it becomes a more affordable/practical option here. - Jkram|ɯɐɹʞſ
Hey! My house has the same water heater! 1972, won't freaking die! - RudĩϐЯaЯïan
A.O. Smith, Rudy? Apparently they are very well-made. It's just too damn big for a house that will typically only have one or two people dwelling in it. (If you want mine as a back-up, just come and get it sometime in July!) - Jkram|ɯɐɹʞſ
not sure, I;m no longer living int he house (and may have made my last payment on it....wanna buy a cute little house in central Illinois?). It's avocado green, 1972, and will. not. die. It's not 80 gallons though....When I talked to someone about replacing it, they told me it might be a world record -- water heaters are only supposed to last 7-8 years apparently?? - RudĩϐЯaЯïan
Yeah, the longest lasting "modern" version that I've had is about 11 years. Depending on usage levels and water characteristics, they usually die from corrosion of the tank or from an accumulation of 'sludge' and mineral deposits in the tank, causing the capacity to gradually decline. Too bad A.O. Smith (apparently) doesn't make them any longer. I'd be happy with just a 30 or 40 gallon unit that would last 40 years! ('Cuz I'll be dead by then!) - Jkram|ɯɐɹʞſ
FYI to those who may be interested. I found this review of tankless water heaters online. It's from Consumer Reports and is dated 2008, so a bit old. But it "jives" with the info the home inspector gave me when I asked for his opinion. - Jkram|ɯɐɹʞſ
We considered that option and rejected it for the same reason. - Stephan Planken from iPhone
The professional plumber flushes the unit with vinegar? Oh good lord, talk about a waste of money. >.< I had no idea about the maintenance thing. - Heather, 30k Camper
I know... why does it require a professional to do that. I do it with my coffee maker all the time! - Jkram|ɯɐɹʞſ
Follow up: There's a video on YouTube that demonstrates the "descaling" procedure. Of course, the offer a kit to do so, which is basically a submersible pump (we already got one <said in a French Taunter accent) a bucket (ditto), a couple short hoses (ditto) and a descaling solution that sells for about $20 and is enough for one procedure. Basically, you turn off the power to the unit, detach the supply and outlet connections from the main water supply, hook up the two hoses where the main supply connections *were*... then connect the other end of each hose to the submersible pump. You pour the solution into the bucket, add a couple gallons of water, place the pump into the bucket, and let 'er rip for about 45 minutes. Then you detach the hoses, re-connect the main water supply to the inlet and outlet, and flush the system for a few minutes. Easy peasy. I'm betting that the solution they sell is basically a concentrated acetic acid or similar. The video says the solution is entirely organic so that it can just be poured down a drain afterwards. Seems completely manageable to me. I may have to rethink now. - Jkram|ɯɐɹʞſ
Very interesting! - WoH: Professor MOTHRA from iPhone