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Gas vs. electric water heater

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Newbie
Apr 20, 2014
64 posts
12 upvotes
Edmonton, AB

Gas vs. electric water heater

I'm building a home and my builder includes a 75L electric water heater. I'm thinking about upgrading to a gas heater as I heard gas is more cost efficient and heat recovery is quicker with a gas heater.

My builder is asking for $400 to rough in gas in the basement (if I want to change to a gas heater in the future) or $700 with both the rough in and the gas heater.

My question is, should I change to a gas heater? Just get the gas rough in? Or stick with the electric heater?

Thanks for any input!
42 replies
Newbie
Mar 29, 2015
28 posts
6 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
Gas is definitely cheaper to operate than electricity here in Ontario. I just switched mine in December. However, the savings aren't as great as I expected going from a 15yr old tank to a new gas tank. Recovery is noticeably better with gas than electric. There are a number of calculators online that you can punch in your gas and electricity costs plus consumption to get a good idea of the price differential.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2002
6695 posts
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I went with electric. Even though gas is cheaper to operate electric is a lot cheaper to buy and to install especially since I can easily do it myself. In my province the difference in operating cost isn't that great. I would however recommend gas for Ontario because the operating cost is probably a lot cheaper, especially if you use a lot of hot water.
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Feb 8, 2014
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I don't know the cost of electricity or gas in Alberta, in Ontario its about 25c/m3 and 15c/kWh, gas wins hands down
10kWh electricity 150 cents
1m3 natural gas (about 10kWh) 25 cents
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people
Member
Apr 8, 2009
315 posts
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Has anyone consider the SAFETY factor in gas vs electricity?

for gas there is always ---> carbon monoxide, explosion to worry about.



.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 19, 2009
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Having a nice hot shower during a power outage outweighs any SAFETY factor.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 20, 2011
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If you have gas service already, e.g. furnace, get gas.
If you don't, get electric. It's not worth the $20+/mo gas connection fee just for hot water.
pootza wrote: Having a nice hot shower during a power outage outweighs any SAFETY factor.
Except most people get a power vent these days, which are useless with no power.
So if you're buying new, get a direct vent, NOT power vent. You need to be within 6ft of an exterior wall, though.
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May 10, 2005
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al_the_great wrote: Has anyone consider the SAFETY factor in gas vs electricity?

for gas there is always ---> carbon monoxide, explosion to worry about.

.
Gas is not a safety issue. You could say the same on gas furnaces and gas stoves.
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al_the_great wrote: Has anyone consider the SAFETY factor in gas vs electricity?

for gas there is always ---> carbon monoxide, explosion to worry about.
Electricity can cause electrocution and fires so neither is completely safe. So either way you should make sure you have monoxide detectors, proper amperage fuses, grounding and don't approach a leaking powered electric (water conducts electricity).
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people
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Feb 8, 2014
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aqnd wrote: If you have gas service already, e.g. furnace, get gas.
If you don't, get electric. It's not worth the $20+/mo gas connection fee just for hot water.
I did the calculation and for my gas stove and gas water tank it is worth the monthly charge, if i had a larger family size it would make just the water tank worth it, but if the OP has gas heating i don't know if the connection/disconnection charges would make it worth disconnecting a few months a year even if he lives alone, showers once a week and has the highest efficiency electric.
aqnd wrote: Except most people get a power vent these days, which are useless with no power.
So if you're buying new, get a direct vent, NOT power vent. You need to be within 6ft of an exterior wall, though.
Direct vent would be nice, they don't seem to be very available though.
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people
Sr. Member
Feb 28, 2015
662 posts
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Toronto, ON
I would recommend looking into a heat pump water heater.
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skoalman123 wrote: I would recommend looking into a heat pump water heater.
They are cool, and new, and expensive. I typically don't buy the newest technology till they have worked out the bugs (if there are any). I don't know anyone with one of these, but i would be interested in seeing one in real life.
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people
Deal Fanatic
Apr 20, 2011
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aqnd wrote: If you have gas service already, e.g. furnace, get gas.
If you don't, get electric. It's not worth the $20+/mo gas connection fee just for hot water.
Quentin5 wrote: I did the calculation and for my gas stove and gas water tank it is worth the monthly charge, if i had a larger family size it would make just the water tank worth it, but if the OP has gas heating i don't know if the connection/disconnection charges would make it worth disconnecting a few months a year even if he lives alone, showers once a week and has the highest efficiency electric.
You're not even comparing the same thing to what I said. And even then, you need to use a lot of hot water to make up for $23/month.

Never said anything about paying to disconnect anything...? Not sure what that has to do with this at all.

I said, again:
If you have gas service for anything else already (e.g. furnace), then get gas water heater. You pay a bit more for the unit, but it only adds $5-10 to your existing gas bill in running costs.
If you have no gas service, don't bother with the hassle of gas water heater alone, as your savings are eaten away by the gas connection charge every single month. And of course, the higher cost of the unit itself in purchase and installation/maintenance/repairs.
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aqnd wrote: You're not even comparing the same thing to what I said. And even then, you need to use a lot of hot water to make up for $23/month.

Never said anything about paying to disconnect anything...? Not sure what that has to do with this at all.

I said, again:
If you have gas service for anything else already (e.g. furnace), then get gas water heater. You pay a bit more for the unit, but it only adds $5-10 to your existing gas bill in running costs.
If you have no gas service, don't bother with the hassle of gas water heater alone, as your savings are eaten away by the gas connection charge every single month. And of course, the higher cost of the unit itself in purchase and installation/maintenance/repairs.
I agree, i'm just saying always do the math before making decisions. I missed the gas service already text, my apologies
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people
Deal Addict
Sep 2, 2010
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Bummer's Roost
What about on-demand gas powered water heaters, have you looked into that?
Newbie
Aug 19, 2007
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Hey it has been 8 years since this post, has heat pump technology for water heaters become more reliable? I am seriously considering one.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
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cwazyy wrote: Hey it has been 8 years since this post, has heat pump technology for water heaters become more reliable? I am seriously considering one.
Largely dependent on where the heat source is. If it's inside heated air, you're essentially and proverbially taking out of one pocket and putting into another (and losing something along the way).

HP water heaters need to be outside air source (absorbing energy from unheated air) to be cost effective on cold climates. They're probably designed for more temperate climates where they can also act as an air conditioner/dehumidifier.
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Nov 2, 2005
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al_the_great wrote: Has anyone consider the SAFETY factor in gas vs electricity?

for gas there is always ---> carbon monoxide, explosion to worry about.



.
Yes, but you can manage this risk by installing CO and flammable gas alarms. Additionally, a new water heater will probably have a sensor to prevent it from firing up in the presence of flammable vapours.

Admittedly the risk can never be zero but you have way more chance of dying driving to work than due a water heater failure!

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