Mar 5, 2011


Out of curiousity, I took a look at water heaters in HD recently. Our current heater is a Bock oil-fired monstrosity that's probably about as old as MrsZ. (Old, but does a great job. The water heater, that is.) I asked the tech who fixed it last time what it's going to cost to replace when it dies... north of a thousand dollars. Ouch.

A 40-gallon electric job is $200 at HD. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Then I started looking at details:
Electric: 53gal "first hour" capacity.
Oil: 180gal "first hour".
Electric: 240Vx25A circuit
Oil: Smaller (120Vx20A?)
Electric estimated annual cost: $600
Oil: One fill of oil (~200gal) runs our furnace and water heater *all year*.

And let's not forget the awful amount of sediment in our water, which isn't good for the oil heater but will eat an electric element in nothing flat.

So ... if and when we have to replace the water heater, I expect I'd be willing to put in an electric job - for the bare minimum time it took to save for a replacement oil setup.


doubletrouble said...

If you have an oil boiler, you might consider an indirect water heater. We had one installed w/a new furnace (needed furnace anyway), & it's the balls. It is piped in as a heating zone, so the furnace only fires when it needs to heat the water, & 40 gals goes a long way w/2 people in the house.
The wood stoves take care of the house heat, mostly.

AM said...

Consider Natural Gas?

ZerCool said...

DT - should have specified. Our furnace is oil-fired forced hot air. It is horribly outsized for the house (and older than I am) and cycles far more than it should have to. If it were our only heat source, we'd be farther towards the poor house. Fortunately, the coal stoker stove does the lion's share of the heating.

AM - there is no NG supply in our area. We use propane for cooking and the clothes dryer, but given how its price has been increasing, the numbers of using it for heating water or air is ... not attractive.

Ruth said...

Hmmm, is there an attachment for the coal stove that could be done? I know they make them for woodburning stoves, though I've never looked closely at them to figure out if they're worth it or not, our woodburning stove is in the middle of the living room on the opposite side of the house from any water pipes or connections so modifiying ours would be painfull.

Ruth said...

though that wouldn't be helpfull for summertime I suppose!

Old NFO said...

If you want to consider tankless hot water heaters, here is a good link.

But considering your incoming water temp in the winter... I dunno...

Wally said...

I am in the same situation. Oil fired hot air heat, oil fired water heater.
An electric would be easy to install, but for me the deciding factor was electricity. We do lose power occasionally here, and it's never an issue in the summer. It would take an obscene generator to support an electric heater. An oil burner takes much less juice to run, just a few amps of 120.

With a full oil tank and a small generator, I can survive much longer... Because no matter how cold it is, or how many hours you have spent shoveling - a hot shower alllways makes it feel better!