Appliance Replacement

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Topic Author
9liner
Posts: 182
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:03 pm

Appliance Replacement

Post by 9liner » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:38 pm

I am one day away from completing a natural gas install. I have already replaced my electric furnace with a gas-fired model. A new gas range is being installed within the next few weeks. Going forward, I was curious as to whether or not it makes financial sense to replace both my electric water heater and gas dryer.

Water Heater
The unit was installed in 2012. It is still in perfect working order. Replacement would entail the purchase and install of either a direct-vent gas water heater or a tankless mounted to an exterior wall. I am aware of the significant costs of tankless which mostly relate to labor. I have a neighbor who is willing to install a unit for a significant discount over a local plumber. The direct-vent tank model would also incur additional costs as the current unit is not near an exterior wall meaning that vent lines would have to be run. The tankless would be mounted to an exterior wall significantly reducing the pipe run.

Dryer
We currently have an electric dryer. It is fairly new and in proper working order.

It is just myself and my wife. No plans to have children so our use will remain minimal. We take maybe 8 showers per week as I shower at the gym Tuesday through Friday. The dishwasher is run maybe 5 times per week. We do no more than 2 loads a week of laundry, on average. Given the low predicted usage and relatively young age of our current appliances, does it make financial sense to convert the water heater and dryer to natural gas?

Thanks in advance!

Edit: We would need a POWER DIRECT VENT water heater since the tank would be located away from an exterior wall.

curmudgeon
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Re: Appliance Replacement

Post by curmudgeon » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:27 pm

Interesting question. With fairly new existing units, and light use, I might be inclined to wait a few years. The improved functionality of a gas dryer (faster drying) and gas water heater(improved recovery time) are most significant with heavier usage like a family. The improved efficiency is less relevant with modest usage as well.

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lthenderson
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Re: Appliance Replacement

Post by lthenderson » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:18 am

I would probably be inclined to replace them as they wore out naturally. With light usage, the payback period to compensate for the new appliance and installation is probably a long long ways out. That answer might change depending on the cost of electricity relative to natural gas is in your area.

quantAndHold
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Re: Appliance Replacement

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:26 am

I don’t know any about gas dryers, but I went to a presentation our local utility had about hot water heaters. They said at our local utility rates, electric water heaters cost 6 times as much to run as gas. They were trying to get people to switch to solar hot water heaters, which made a lot of sense for the people with electric, but less sense for people with gas.

I did read somewhere else since then that the payback period for switching from electric hot water to gas is about a year. For someone like you, it would probably be more like 2 years. If it were me, I would make the switch.

sschoe2
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Re: Appliance Replacement

Post by sschoe2 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:59 pm

Water heater and dryer I think the break even point with the energy saved would be a very long time. I'd wait for them to fail. I've also heard that electric water heater is a very good option unless you have an exhaust ie Chimney in place as the power vent ones are more expensive and have a shorter life expectancy.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Appliance Replacement

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:38 pm

9liner wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:38 pm
I am one day away from completing a natural gas install. I have already replaced my electric furnace with a gas-fired model. A new gas range is being installed within the next few weeks. Going forward, I was curious as to whether or not it makes financial sense to replace both my electric water heater and gas dryer.

Water Heater
The unit was installed in 2012. It is still in perfect working order. Replacement would entail the purchase and install of either a direct-vent gas water heater or a tankless mounted to an exterior wall. I am aware of the significant costs of tankless which mostly relate to labor. I have a neighbor who is willing to install a unit for a significant discount over a local plumber. The direct-vent tank model would also incur additional costs as the current unit is not near an exterior wall meaning that vent lines would have to be run. The tankless would be mounted to an exterior wall significantly reducing the pipe run.

Dryer
We currently have an electric dryer. It is fairly new and in proper working order.

It is just myself and my wife. No plans to have children so our use will remain minimal. We take maybe 8 showers per week as I shower at the gym Tuesday through Friday. The dishwasher is run maybe 5 times per week. We do no more than 2 loads a week of laundry, on average. Given the low predicted usage and relatively young age of our current appliances, does it make financial sense to convert the water heater and dryer to natural gas?

Thanks in advance!

Edit: We would need a POWER DIRECT VENT water heater since the tank would be located away from an exterior wall.
No.

Why not stick with a standard 70-90 gallon electric water heater?

Dryer. . . no. Leave it electric.

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Topic Author
9liner
Posts: 182
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:03 pm

Re: Appliance Replacement

Post by 9liner » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:41 pm

Why not stick with a standard 70-90 gallon electric water heater?
If the water heater needed replacement, I would most certainly convert to gas. The savings over natural gas vs. electric is real along with other perks of a gas water heater such as a significantly reduced recovery time. The outlier in this situation is that my electric water heater is working just fine. I am trying to decide if it is worth scrapping a perfectly good appliance in order to realize annual savings in my utility bill.

quantAndHold
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Re: Appliance Replacement

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:29 pm

9liner wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:41 pm
Why not stick with a standard 70-90 gallon electric water heater?
If the water heater needed replacement, I would most certainly convert to gas. The savings over natural gas vs. electric is real along with other perks of a gas water heater such as a significantly reduced recovery time. The outlier in this situation is that my electric water heater is working just fine. I am trying to decide if it is worth scrapping a perfectly good appliance in order to realize annual savings in my utility bill.
Can you calculate the how much electricity you use to run the hot water heater vs the cost if you had gas and figure out what the payback period is? When I went to the workshop on solar hot water heaters, they had a formula for figuring it out (which I’ve now forgotten, of course).

The two things I learned from that workshop was that our gas water heater was only costing us like $9/month, and to run away if someone was trying to sell me an all electric house.

brianH
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Re: Appliance Replacement

Post by brianH » Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:01 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:29 pm
The two things I learned from that workshop was that our gas water heater was only costing us like $9/month, and to run away if someone was trying to sell me an all electric house.
You must live in an area with especially high electric prices and especially low gas prices. Using the standard numbers for the yellow 'Energy Star' guides, a premium 50 gallon water heater from Rheem costs $419/year in electric and $271/year using gas w/ power vent. The gas unit does have slightly better recovery. At $1100 for the unit, it would be about a 7-8 year payback to replace the existing electric unit, but that of course doesn't include installation and doesn't account for the fact that your payback is eating into the new heater's life expectency.

If your tank is only 7 years old (about half its expected life), I wouldn't replace it preemptively, but would do so between 10-15 years old. However, power vent water heaters are less reliable and very noisy, and would add considerably to the install cost.

quantAndHold
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Appliance Replacement

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:36 pm

brianH wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:01 pm
quantAndHold wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:29 pm
The two things I learned from that workshop was that our gas water heater was only costing us like $9/month, and to run away if someone was trying to sell me an all electric house.
You must live in an area with especially high electric prices and especially low gas prices. Using the standard numbers for the yellow 'Energy Star' guides, a premium 50 gallon water heater from Rheem costs $419/year in electric and $271/year using gas w/ power vent. The gas unit does have slightly better recovery. At $1100 for the unit, it would be about a 7-8 year payback to replace the existing electric unit, but that of course doesn't include installation and doesn't account for the fact that your payback is eating into the new heater's life expectency.

If your tank is only 7 years old (about half its expected life), I wouldn't replace it preemptively, but would do so between 10-15 years old. However, power vent water heaters are less reliable and very noisy, and would add considerably to the install cost.
We’re only 2 people, so our utility bills are generally low. Our summertime gas bills are about $15 all in (we don’t use our dryer in the summer). The utility company is who told us that electric water heaters were 6x more expensive to run than gas, and people in the workshop who had electric hot water were talking about $100+ per month just for hot water. They were all planning on installing solar hot water (it was a solar hot water workshop put on by the local utility).

The biggest deal here is that the more electricity you use, the more expensive it is. So an electric hot water heater will push you into a more expensive rate tier.

euroswiss
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Re: Appliance Replacement

Post by euroswiss » Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:54 pm

9liner wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:41 pm
Why not stick with a standard 70-90 gallon electric water heater?
If the water heater needed replacement, I would most certainly convert to gas. The savings over natural gas vs. electric is real along with other perks of a gas water heater such as a significantly reduced recovery time. The outlier in this situation is that my electric water heater is working just fine. I am trying to decide if it is worth scrapping a perfectly good appliance in order to realize annual savings in my utility bill.
With your low usage, chances are that your current water heater and dryer will last another 10+ years. Low usage also makes the payoff for the investment much longer. I would leave both of them alone. You may sell your house before any of it even becomes an issue...

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