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Question DetailsAsked on 9/18/2017

elec costs 0.06 kwt , LP gas is $1.50 per gal. for 2 people which is more economical?

My wife and I have a vacation home in CO. the gas water heateris

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With that rate sounds like you may be getting your power from 4 Corners power stations, because Colorado average is around 11.5¢/KWHr - are you sure you included both the per KWHr producer cost PLUS any electricity purchase adjustment - see your bill.

OK - raw energy, depending on the propane/butane mix in your local fuel and temperature, about 22-28 KWHr of energy per gallon of LPG - raw energy, so that would be 5.4-6.8 ¢/KWHr. Taking that to effective heating energy - at say 60% range for conventional heater or 90% for high-efficiency induced draft heat pump equipped water heater, more like 9-11¢/KWHr equivalent for conventional or 6-7.5¢/KWHr equivalent for high-efficiency actually going into heating the water. So right there at least as expensive or more so than electric. And this does not account for the fact an electric heater has lower maintenance needs, is guaranteed (for in-house installation) to have 100% effective use of energy in heating season (though does drop off in air conditioning season as air conditioner has to remove the waste het dissipated into the house), commonly last longer than same rated life gas heater, does not have any pilot light cost, has no annual maintenance need other than draining some water from the tank, and is more reliable (especially in unattended situation like a vacation home, assuming you leave the unit heating in winter), and is safer in long-term unattended situation.

This all assumes you have both LPG and electric to the house already - hookup of an electric heater (if not already wired for it) is likely about $200-400 more than for gas if a new circuit needs hooking in to the panel, assuming your panel has the capacity for the demand. if you do not have LPG yet, then of course getting a tank and hookup would be way more than that.

So - assuming you figure electric and LPG gas inflation will be similar over the life of the heataer, cost wise I would say electric is pretty much guaranteed to be cheaper AT THAT LOW ELECTRICITY COST. Even a bit more so if you figure in running a pilot light year-around, though much of that energy goes into heating the water - but wasted when you are not there, to the tune of only maybe a tenner or so $/year.

Another factor against LPG - turning the heater down to pilot when not there, for extended periods, promotes rusting of the heater firebox and flue and can shorten the life of the heater - it needs the full burner flame periodically during the day to burn nout the moisture from the pilot light gas combustion.

One factor in favor of the LPG - assuming you did NOT have a high-efficiency unit (which has electric demand for the eduction fan and the heat pump mounted on top), is it stays hot during power outages if that is a winter issue in your area - an electric one would be out so could freeze up if not heated by a furnace.

Gave you the way to figure cost above - find out the actual energy equivalence of local gas from the supplier, and get quotes for both LPG and electric heater (installed cost, including everything) from a couple of local plumbers and rework the numbers, but except in very high (typically about 12¢/KWHr and higher) areas, electric is generally cheaper than tanked LPG, and piped natural gas is almost always cheaper than electric except in some VERY low electric bost areas like Columbia Basin and such where cheap hydro is the prim,ary power source. Usually it is unavailability of piped natural gas, or electric if no piped gas, which drives people to propane or LPG, not cost savings.

Answered 1 year ago by LCD

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