Gas, Electric, Oil or Solar Water Heater?

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 2:55 AM

Often homeowners need to choose between water heaters based on fuel type and costs.
In order to make a wise dicision we need to look at several factors, such as:

1. Availability of fuel: gas, electric, oil or solar
2. Installation Cost
3. Annual Operational and Energy Cost
4. Efficiency

Here is the table where all of these costs are added over 13 years of life:


Water Heater Type ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Installed Cost~~~~~Total Cost
___________________________________________(Over 13 Years)

Demand gas (tankless)................. $1,600 .............$5,008

Condensing gas storage................. 2,000 ...............5,170

High-efficiency gas storage ............ 1,025 .............. 5,220

Conventional gas storage ................. 850 .............. 5,394

Electric heat pump water heater ....... 1,660 ............. 4,125

High-eff. electric storage ................. 820 ............. 6,528

Minimum eff. electric storage ............ 750 ............. 6,769

Solar with electric back-up .............. 4,800 ............. 7,072

Conventional oil-fired storage .......... 1,400 ........... 11,299


If you look at all of the gas water heaters you can see that they are the cheapest ones based on total cost including installation. Only electric heat pump water heater is cheaper that gas ones, but usually gas water heaters are more efficient and cheaper. It usually takes less time to heat the water using gas fuel than electricity.

Solar water heaters have the cheapest yearly energy costs but also - the highest installation costs.
Solar water heaters are usually installed where there is a lot of sun available and gas lines are far away.

Oil-fired water heaters are the most expensive ones and if possible, should be replaced with gas or electric water heater.


To read more about different water heaters and to see the whole table with all of the information such as annual costs and efficiency, please go to the following website:

http://www.aceee.org/Consumerguide/waterheating.htm

-Peter Y.

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