Saving Money: Is Switching to a Gas Water Heater Worth It? (our first Guest Post!)

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A Note From Robin:  We have our first Guest Post!  Meet my dad.  He's the most organized person I have ever known.  He's taught me lots about saving money (and taught me the love of spreadsheets - for real - we both think they're the bees knees).  

Have you wondered: "Would it be worth it for me to switch my electric water heater for a gas one?"  It can be intimidating: would such a big pain in the butt even be worth it in the end?  My dad found out that it is worth it and we've got the spreadsheet as proof. (A really pretty spreadsheet.  I got her all dolled up for ya.)  He offered to write about his experience and share about how much he saved.   

Check it out:

by Will, Seniors Correspondent (and Robin's Dad)

In the spring of 2010,  my wife and I downsized and relocated to a retirement community.  We moved from a 1750 square foot home with 9-foot ceilings and a full basement to a 1540 square foot home with 8-foot ceilings and no basement.  Natural gas was the heating system in both homes.

Almost immediately I noticed that our new electricity costs were significantly higher than in our larger home.  The former home had a rental gas water heater while the new home had an electric water heater which we owned.  I reasoned that this higher cost was attributed to the water heater.  I did some research as to cost comparisons of natural gas versus electric water heating without much success.

The cost to purchase a mid-efficiency natural gas water heater is much greater than an electric heater would be; therefore, I decided to price out a rental unit from Reliance Home Comfort.  Based on my calculations and the heater rental costs, I estimated that we would end up slightly ahead of a break even situation.  With the price of electric energy ever-increasing, this could only get better.  I decided to make the switch.

Reliance quoted me approximately $22.50 per month plus taxes for the rental of a 40 Imperial Gallon water heater.  Installation was free, provided minimum conditions as to point of supply and vent distance were met.  Reliance sent out their local installer who determined that we met the minimum requirements.  I gave the go ahead.

Installation was set for the spring of 2011.  (CONSUMER WARNING! The water heater Reliance provided was a 50-gallon unit (I had ordered a 40- gallon one).  The installer commented that they (Reliance) were always sending out the 50-gallon units.  When the first bill came the rent was higher at  $25.50 per month.  I complained to Reliance and they gave me a one time credit to cover the first 12-month rental.)

Despite this problem, we saved money.  The included spread sheet shows the energy costs we have incurred for the past 20 months.  It shows a savings of $97.93, after the rental costs were deducted since the gas water heater was installed.  This is roughly $15.00 per month!

Here's the data:

Is Switching to A Gas Water Heater Worth It?  (Click on the link or image below to enlarge or print).

Note: from the beginning of January to the end of March 2011 we wintered in Texas (see in yellow on the chart above); hence, the lower energy costs. 

(PS - Space is a premium in our downsized home.  The water heater is big (24” diameter x 60” tall) and uses a lot of valuable space.  For approximately $10.00 per month more rental we could have a tankless water heater (24”x12”x9”) installed and still be money to the good.  We're thinking about it.)

Editor's Bottom Line: 
Installing a Gas Water Heater Saves Money.  Plus, the savings seen here is for a home with two people.  If you have kids you are probably using much more hot water so your savings could be even greater. 

So, have you made the switch to a gas water heater?  Or tankless?  What kind of savings did you find?


  1. Me and my wife are in the almost same situation as you were. We want to instal a gas water heater in our new place. I hope I will earn from your post and our instillation goes a little bit smoother. r. http://www.thecleanplumbers.com/hot-water-heaters


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