Learn about electric heating and tankless water heaters. Find out why you should not run a tankless hot water heater on electricity if you want to be energy efficient.
LESLIE: Thomas in Washington listens on KZXR. What’s going on with your water heater ?
THOMAS: I’m looking at replacing . I have an electric – an older electric hot water tank. And I’m looking at replacing it with either the instant hot water heaters or go with the propane-fired hot water heater. My question is what is the most economical benefit? You going with an instant hot water heater or with a natural gas propane type?
LESLIE: Well, if you go with an on-demand hot water heater  – which is what you’re talking about with the instant – would you still continue to use electric?
THOMAS: Most likely, yes.
TOM: Well, then I would no because tankless electric water heaters  are available but the efficiency just doesn’t work out because it requires so much electricity to be able to supply that instant hot water that they’re probably not cost effective.
What I think you want to do – as a combination of the technologies here – is that you would use a tankless water heater but you would use one that’s propane fired. Not electric. Because the electric won’t be efficient but the propane would be. So your choices are either to go with a standard electric water heater which – the best way to make that efficient is to put it on a timer so that it only runs a few hours a day. You could put it on a 240-volt timer. That would be the least expensive.
Or if you’re going to be in your house for a long time and you want to make a good energy saving improvement , you can go with the tankless heater but it has to be fired by propane, not electric because it just wouldn’t be efficient as an electric water heater.
THOMAS: Thank you very much.