Replace Gas Hot Water Heater
LESLIE: Rod in Colorado needs some help with a water heater purchase. What’s going on?
ROD: Well, I have a gas hot water heater that’s about 21 years old.
LESLIE: Wow, OK.
ROD: And it’s starting to slow down on recovery, so I think it’s time to replace it. So my question is I’m looking at replacing it with another gas hot water heater or maybe switching over to either an instantaneous or I’ve read a little bit about a heat pump water heater but I’m not sure about those. I want the most efficient but that also has good recovery.
TOM: Right. OK. So, right now you do have natural gas. Correct?
ROD: That’s correct, yes.
TOM: Alright. So then what we would recommend is a high-efficiency gas water heater or a gas tankless water heater and that’s going to supply an unlimited amount of hot water – a tankless will – properly sized and installed. And that would be the most efficient way to go.
Now, the heat pump water heaters are new on the market and they’re an excellent option. But I don’t think that I would recommend that you forego a gas water heater to put in an electric heat pump water heater. If you have an electric water heater now, that’s a way that you can get something that’s two or three times as efficient. But since you already have gas, I would continue with the gas but I would install a tankless water heater.
ROD: How efficient are those?
TOM: Incredibly efficient. They only heat water as you need it. They don’t store water; that’s the difference.
ROD: Wow. And then, with those, basically you don’t have to worry about recovery. You would have unlimited hot water, correct?
TOM: You absolutely would because that’s the way it works. You call for hot water, it bakes the hot water right there, heats the hot water right there; sends it down the pipe and then it stops heating.
ROD: Does it require a larger supply of gas than I currently use for my hot water heater?
TOM: It requires a slightly bigger pipe but it uses less gas.
ROD: It just uses a burst of it.
TOM: Instead of a 3/4-inch gas line, it needs a one-inch gas line; so there’s a little bit of replumbing involved but, over all, it uses less gas.
ROD: Wow. OK, I hadn’t even thought of that one.
TOM: Yeah, that’s what I would – I would look at the water heaters that are made by Rheem – R-h-e-e-m – or Rinnai; both good brands. OK?
ROD: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.