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Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:43 am
by pvanryn
I need to purchase an electric hot water heater for my mother in law. She is on oxygen full time now and may not have gas fired appliances in her home.

Ordinarily I would look at Consumer Reports, but their information on water heaters is out of date. Anyone have a particular brand they recommend? Tank or tank-less? This is for one person living by herself, and her hot water needs will be minimal. Looking at the specs, I was thinking I would buy a small tank.

TIA.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:52 am
by THY4373
If you haven't already done it you should probably call an electrician to see whether the existing electrical service can support a hot water heater and to put a circuit in if it can. I have read tankless electrical hotwater heaters are capacity constrained because of the limits on how much electrical energy you are able to pull. I have seen lots if folks recommend Rheem tanks.

The last electrical hot water heater I purchased was a GE heatpump hot water heater. No complaints and still going strong 8 years later. Paid for itself years ago after all the rebates but probably more than you want to spend at this point.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:54 am
by dm200
If you compare electric vs gas water heaters (with the tank) - note that for the same amount of hot water use - you may need/want a larger tank with electric.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:46 am
by Chuck
I don't think there is much variation in quality of electric water heaters. You get a tank, one or two heating elements, and one or two anode rods. This is all basic rock-solid technology. There is usually a 6-year warranty, or 12-year warranty, the longer one coming with larger or multiple anode rods (usually $200-$250 more). Because I replace them myself, I prefer to get the cheaper one and change it more often, and imagine that I have less scale and sediment on average because it's always newer. We're talking $350 every 5-10 years, so not much invested. So my advice is to not over-think it.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:54 am
by barnaclebob
Whose requirement is it to have an electric water heater? Seems like she just might need to stay away from it as a precaution. Or does the current heater coincidentally need replacement and you figure its best to just go with electric?

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:58 am
by dm200
dm200 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:54 am
If you compare electric vs gas water heaters (with the tank) - note that for the same amount of hot water use - you may need/want a larger tank with electric.
OK - re-read the OP and see she needs small tank. A 30 gallon should be fine, then.

As others posted, may need to make sure electrical capacity can handle it.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:10 pm
by Sandtrap
If there is an existing 30 gallon electric water heater (tank) then replace it with the same thing in a name brand (not an off brand where parts are harder to get). Have a plumber or yourself replace it. Done.
30 gallon is the generic size so parts are proven and simple and easily obtained. They come in tall, med, and short for under counter installs. The regular size height is normally cheaper. For a few dollars more you can upsize but it is not critical.
Amongst the common brands the internals are all mostly the same. You pay more for the name and frosting on big names.

If the existing water heater is gas and you want to change over to electric. Then the plumber will cap off the gas line. An electrician will run a new service to the location. Then hookup. Simple.
Avoid tankless. Keep it simple.

j

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:40 pm
by NavyIC3
I would get a 50 gal. electric for a one person household. The rule of thumb is that only 80% of the tank is usable "hot" water. The recovery time for electric water heaters is very slow vs gas.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:55 pm
by dm200
NavyIC3 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:40 pm
I would get a 50 gal. electric for a one person household. The rule of thumb is that only 80% of the tank is usable "hot" water. The recovery time for electric water heaters is very slow vs gas.
No - from our experience with 2-3 person households, a 30 gal tank should suffice for one person.
Yes - it is true that the recovery time for electric is slower than gas.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:12 pm
by jpdion
Try poking around the EPA Energy Star Water Heater site: https://www.energystar.gov/productfinde ... rs/results

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:13 pm
by Chuck
Re: 30 gallons is not enough: If the one person in the household loads and starts the dishwasher, then immediately runs to the laundry room to start some laundry, then runs to the shower, there may be an issue. (Dishwasher average of 6 gallons, 15 for laundry machine, 20 for shower.) Otherwise, it should be fine.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:35 pm
by CJC000
We just replaced our "shop" electric water heater with a Westinghouse (HTC brand) stainless steel tank from Home Depot. You can get the 40gal for $670, the 52 gal is $679. These have a lifetime tank warranty, NO anodes needed, 6 yrs parts. HD can install for a reasonable fee. It will take a dedicated 220V 20-30 amp circuit. I did it myself in less than an hour. Stay away from electric tankless...

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:46 pm
by CurlyDave
CJC000 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:35 pm
We just replaced our "shop" electric water heater with a Westinghouse (HTC brand) stainless steel tank from Home Depot. You can get the 40gal for $670, the 52 gal is $679. These have a lifetime tank warranty, NO anodes needed, 6 yrs parts. HD can install for a reasonable fee. It will take a dedicated 220V 20-30 amp circuit. I did it myself in less than an hour. Stay away from electric tankless...
At those prices I would opt for the 52 gal if it will fit in the existing space. Electric tanks need to be larger because recover time is much longer.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:03 pm
by sport
If the house has a "soaking tub" or some other large bathtub, a larger tank may be needed.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:19 pm
by fund
You can get a mixing valve installed on the water heater itself which will allow you to use a smaller water heater. With the mixing valve installed, you turn up the heating elements to max temperature. The mixing valve is adjustable. It operates by mixing the max heated hot water in the tank with cold water that's incoming into your home, and sends that mixture to your taps. This way a smaller tank functions as if it were a larger tank that doesn't feature the mixing valve, because you're not draining all of the water heated to, say, 120 degrees, for a shower, but rather a smaller amount heated to, for example, 140 degrees, mixed with lower temp water that's piped into your home. Because you use less of the heated water, you can use a smaller tank.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:44 pm
by ddurrett896
Chuck wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:13 pm
Re: 30 gallons is not enough: If the one person in the household loads and starts the dishwasher, then immediately runs to the laundry room to start some laundry, then runs to the shower, there may be an issue. (Dishwasher average of 6 gallons, 15 for laundry machine, 20 for shower.) Otherwise, it should be fine.
Then you might as well get a 100 gallon in case someone else takes a shower while you are, and every sink is being used by someone washing their hands.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:47 pm
by sport
fund wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:19 pm
You can get a mixing valve installed on the water heater itself which will allow you to use a smaller water heater. With the mixing valve installed, you turn up the heating elements to max temperature. The mixing valve is adjustable. It operates by mixing the max heated hot water in the tank with cold water that's incoming into your home, and sends that mixture to your taps. This way a smaller tank functions as if it were a larger tank that doesn't feature the mixing valve, because you're not draining all of the water heated to, say, 120 degrees, for a shower, but rather a smaller amount heated to, for example, 140 degrees, mixed with lower temp water that's piped into your home. Because you use less of the heated water, you can use a smaller tank.
The downside of this is that running a water tank at its maximum temperature will shorten its life compared to normal operating temperatures.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:57 pm
by F150HD
Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater



So you're trying to heat up hot water??


:P

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:37 pm
by pvanryn
CJC000 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:35 pm
We just replaced our "shop" electric water heater with a Westinghouse (HTC brand) stainless steel tank from Home Depot. You can get the 40gal for $670, the 52 gal is $679. These have a lifetime tank warranty, NO anodes needed, 6 yrs parts. HD can install for a reasonable fee. It will take a dedicated 220V 20-30 amp circuit. I did it myself in less than an hour. Stay away from electric tankless...
I love this board, thanks for all of the advice everyone.

The 52 gal. sounds like it might be the way to go, but I called Home Depot and they want $900 to install. *ouch*

That does NOT include running the electrical, or the cost of the tank itself. Is this reasonable? Its been a long time since I hired a plumber. It is going in the same spot as the old gas heater, so they would not need to do much - the basic plumbing is all in place. I'll try some local plumbers and see if I can do any better.

I have an electrician coming over this week to run the electrical.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:40 pm
by Chuck
ddurrett896 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:44 pm
Chuck wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:13 pm
Re: 30 gallons is not enough: If the one person in the household loads and starts the dishwasher, then immediately runs to the laundry room to start some laundry, then runs to the shower, there may be an issue. (Dishwasher average of 6 gallons, 15 for laundry machine, 20 for shower.) Otherwise, it should be fine.
Then you might as well get a 100 gallon in case someone else takes a shower while you are, and every sink is being used by someone washing their hands.
If it was unclear, the gist of my post was supposed to be 30 gallons is fine. (The example given being absurd, since it was said the house is occupied by one person.) Or you're playing along and I just ruined it.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:09 pm
by tev9876
Is it really necessary to change out a water heater because someone in the house is using oxygen? I've never heard of doing so and we never did when my parents used it. Even the purpose built assisted living facility my mother was in had a gas furnace in a utility closet in her studio apartment. General internet wisdom seems to be just stay 5-10 feet away from open flames.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:14 pm
by dm200
pvanryn wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:37 pm
CJC000 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:35 pm
We just replaced our "shop" electric water heater with a Westinghouse (HTC brand) stainless steel tank from Home Depot. You can get the 40gal for $670, the 52 gal is $679. These have a lifetime tank warranty, NO anodes needed, 6 yrs parts. HD can install for a reasonable fee. It will take a dedicated 220V 20-30 amp circuit. I did it myself in less than an hour. Stay away from electric tankless...
I love this board, thanks for all of the advice everyone.
The 52 gal. sounds like it might be the way to go, but I called Home Depot and they want $900 to install. *ouch*
That does NOT include running the electrical, or the cost of the tank itself. Is this reasonable? Its been a long time since I hired a plumber. It is going in the same spot as the old gas heater, so they would not need to do much - the basic plumbing is all in place. I'll try some local plumbers and see if I can do any better.
I have an electrician coming over this week to run the electrical.
I suggest, to the degree possible and practical, keeping the ability, in the future, to revert back to gas.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:37 pm
by ddurrett896
Chuck wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:40 pm
Or you're playing along and I just ruined it.
Playing around lol!

I have a 50 gallon for a family of 5 and never have an issue. Granted I don't run everything at the same time, still 30 is MORE than enough!

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:03 pm
by Pajamas
tev9876 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:09 pm
Is it really necessary to change out a water heater because someone in the house is using oxygen? I've never heard of doing so and we never did when my parents used it. Even the purpose built assisted living facility my mother was in had a gas furnace in a utility closet in her studio apartment. General internet wisdom seems to be just stay 5-10 feet away from open flames.
I am questioning this assumption as well.

It is important to stay away from fire or flames as well as any potential sources of sparks or anything else that could ignite the oxygen but I have never heard that gas appliances cannot be present in the home and thought that electrical appliances can just be as much of a hazard as gas ones. In the end, I suppose that it would depend on the location of the water heater.

Anyway, I would double-check this requirement before replacing the water heater.

The big thing to worry about is smoking. Most fires involving home oxygen use are caused by smoking. I'm guessing it's because smoking is so addictive and one of the major reasons people end up on oxygen in the first place is because they smoke. Yes, some people do continue smoking even when they require oxygen to breathe from COPD or when they have a tracheotomy after surgery for smoking-relating cancer.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:33 pm
by 2comma
Chuck wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:46 am
I don't think there is much variation in quality of electric water heaters. You get a tank, one or two heating elements, and one or two anode rods. This is all basic rock-solid technology. There is usually a 6-year warranty, or 12-year warranty, the longer one coming with larger or multiple anode rods (usually $200-$250 more). Because I replace them myself, I prefer to get the cheaper one and change it more often, and imagine that I have less scale and sediment on average because it's always newer. We're talking $350 every 5-10 years, so not much invested. So my advice is to not over-think it.
I do the same, actually the last one I picked up was a 9 year warranty but I paid the price of the 6 year warranty because it had a cosmetic dent. I planned to flush the tank every once in a while and replace the anode after about 5 years hoping to add some longevity but I never seem to get around to it.

No, I do not think $900 just for the installation of a tank is anywhere within reason in any part of the country.

I too question the requirement for an electric WH because someone in the house is on oxygen.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:15 pm
by CJC000
$900 to install is outrageous unless that included running a new power source, seismic strapping, insulation, etc. If you don't want to do it yourself, try an independent contractor. Remember Oxygen is not combustable, it vigorously supports combustion. Maybe going to electric is overkill?

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:47 pm
by adamthesmythe
tev9876 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:09 pm
Is it really necessary to change out a water heater because someone in the house is using oxygen? I've never heard of doing so and we never did when my parents used it. Even the purpose built assisted living facility my mother was in had a gas furnace in a utility closet in her studio apartment. General internet wisdom seems to be just stay 5-10 feet away from open flames.
I, too, find myself puzzled by this. Would an oxygen user also need to move to a house without gas heat? Given that water heaters are typically not in the occupied area, and normally one does not need to get close to them, and normally no gas is emitted anyway, it seems to me the potential hazard is minimal.

Now using a gas stove...that's another matter.

By the way, I am NOT offering advice, just mystification.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:17 am
by smitcat
pvanryn wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:37 pm
CJC000 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:35 pm
We just replaced our "shop" electric water heater with a Westinghouse (HTC brand) stainless steel tank from Home Depot. You can get the 40gal for $670, the 52 gal is $679. These have a lifetime tank warranty, NO anodes needed, 6 yrs parts. HD can install for a reasonable fee. It will take a dedicated 220V 20-30 amp circuit. I did it myself in less than an hour. Stay away from electric tankless...
I love this board, thanks for all of the advice everyone.

The 52 gal. sounds like it might be the way to go, but I called Home Depot and they want $900 to install. *ouch*

That does NOT include running the electrical, or the cost of the tank itself. Is this reasonable? Its been a long time since I hired a plumber. It is going in the same spot as the old gas heater, so they would not need to do much - the basic plumbing is all in place. I'll try some local plumbers and see if I can do any better.

I have an electrician coming over this week to run the electrical.
"but I called Home Depot and they want $900 to install. *ouch*
That does NOT include running the electrical, or the cost of the tank itself. Is this reasonable? Its been a long time since I hired a plumber. It is going in the same spot as the old gas heater, so they would not need to do much - the basic plumbing is all in place. I'll try some local plumbers and see if I can do any better."

$900 is a really expensive install - I have done 7 of these electric water heater replacements in the past 2 years and in the worst case it took me 3 hours - that was a ceiling mounted unit. I am not a plumber or even close but I did plan out what was needed and had the extra parts here ready for the install. I used Shark bite connectors in these cases so I did not even take out the torch.
Good luck.

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:22 am
by Eric
Re tank size -- you should also consider the shower heads. If you have water-saver heads (required for shower heads since, I think, sometime in the 1990s), water usage will be significantly lower than if you have older heads (or have removed the water saver from a newer head). Especially if you take long showers. That might explain the different experiences reported in this thread.