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milbry18 07-07-2008 09:58 AM

installing elec. hot water heater to reduce oil consumption
You guys have been great in the past.
I am trying to reduce my oil consumption. Should I install an electric hot water heater to only use duing the summer to heat my domestic water ? Or should you stick with the oil to make the hot water all summer?

If i had to guess I think i'm using 5 t 10 gallons of oil a week to make hot water here in summer. I have an efm oil furnace thats about 10 years old.

I've been all over the internet researching calculators and it seems like everyone has their own opinon. Oil cost as of today is $4.30 delivered, which will go up for the winter for sure. Next year our PPL electric will go up also i'm just not sure how much, i've heard double.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

milbry18 07-07-2008 10:01 AM

Also how do you feel about using electric heaters or propane fireplaces to ease your fuel oil consumpion? I've looked into those edenpure heaters, and portabe electric oil filled radiators.

geo 07-07-2008 01:13 PM

If I where you and serious about saving oil on the hot water domestic side the only real clear cut winner is solor they will heat 100% of your hot water in the summer and 50% in the winter they pay for themselves in about 5-7 years and less if oil continues its rise and if you have southern exposer and little tree cover. As far as propane fire places I like them because I like fireplaces and dont like the work asc. with wood . They wont save you any real money unless oil goes through the roof and LP stays the same , this is unlikely because they are linked. electric space heaters are for emergeny's I recomend having one in case you lose heat , but not as a primary heat source . They are a fire hazard and again your savings there would not be signifacant

glennjanie 07-08-2008 08:59 PM

Hello Milbry:
I have always thought of electric water heaters as the least efficient. Natural gas does not show in your post, so I suppose it is out of the question. There are natural and LP gas water heaters that have 94% efficiency; very attractive.

Another route you may want to consider is the tankless water heater; you can get it in electric, natrual gas, and liquified petroleum gas. Tankless heaters only work while you are using the hot water. rather than keep hot water 24 hours a day while you are off at work or sleeping. If you think about it conventional water heaters waste about 2/3 of the energy they use.

You may already be using it but there is the option of a hot water loop in the oil furnace which gives you abundant hot water without extra expense during the heating season.

I like the LP gas logs (can be bought in ventless) for supplemental or emergency heat. You would only need a 100# cylinder to last all winter.

geo 07-09-2008 03:41 AM

dont be fooled
a 94% eff is good but its actualy worse then oil LP contians 70k btu per gal at 94 percent your geting about 65k btu per gal. oil at 140k btu per gal at 84 % is actualy more btu per gal . Obviosly you have to multiply in your local costs at this point. the fact that tankless only heat on demand is there only edge(a big one) . And lp is better for the inviorment. Those ventless fireplaces give you 100% 70k per gal. probubly a slight egde on oil when you add the lower cost, but put carbon monoxid deterctors all around them . The products of combustion are sopposedly filtered but go right into your house. Just because you dont see it or smell it dont mean its not there

milbry18 07-09-2008 07:36 AM

using oil just to make hot water
Yes I currently don't have a stand alone water heater. My hot water is currently made through my oil furnace. But with the cost of oil skyrocketing, I thought especially in the warm months that if I had an electric hot water heater, I could shut down my oil furnace. Then when the weather turns cold fire up the oil furnace and shut off the elec. water heater. I figure since my furnace is already making hot water to push through my baseboard heat, might as well let it make domestic hot water too. A 12 year elec. hot water heater plus vales and all will cost about 400 dollars. I figure it will cost between 25 to 40 a month to run it to make hot water. Currently at oil price I am paying about 25 to 35 a week to run my oil furnace just to make hot water? Hope this explains my thinking.......

I looked into ventless propane fireplaces with blower, like 28000 btu's. But I was told propane leaves alot of moisture and condensation in your house and you wouldn't run it at night or when your not home to help heat your house.

I am looking to ease my dependence on oil, thats why I was thinking I could run electric space heaters or oil filled elec radiators in the winter, and get the elec. hot water heater in the summer. Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks

milbry18 07-09-2008 07:44 AM

My current elec cost is 58 dollars for 500 kwh a month. I know in the next year or two we could have some major increases due to elec. caps coming off. I don't know how to factor in this variable?

handyguys 07-09-2008 12:03 PM

I'm in PA too. Lots of people around here are in a similar situation. You would certainly save on a month to month basis after outlaying $400 for an electric water heater. You already did that math.

Before outlaying the cash I would, as suggested, look into an on demand water heater. There are electric and gas models. I would do gas if you could.

As for space heaters. They will help cut costs if you are willing to keep the furnace off and only heat one room at a time. We did this when I was a kid in the 70s and we used a portable kerosene heater.

I recently finished my basement. I decided to not extend the central heat into the space (I didn't want to heat it 100% of the time). I put in a natural gas fireplace. The model I chose is a direct vent style, 28000 BTU. It has a thermostat, timer, variable flame and variable blower. It can heat the 1400sq ft basement in no time flat. See here

milbry18 07-15-2008 11:14 AM

I looked into On Demand water heaters, i checked with a speciality plumbing shop which told me it had to be professionally installed and it would cost 2600 dollars. I see Lowes has a unit for a cheap as 650 dollars, what is the disadvantage to these units? will they last? does it need to be professionally installed? This is the reason I was leaning toward an electric hot water heater, I won't even have 400 into the tank, copper, valves, and wire.

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