installing electric water heater


Old 10-29-05, 10:40 PM
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installing electric water heater

Hi! I'm in the process of building a home in a community that has gas appliances such as water heater and furnace. I want all electric. We are building from the ground up. So what needs to be added/changed to install an 80 gallon electric water heater?
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Old 10-30-05, 04:40 AM
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Location: New York
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Why not install gas appliances. Some communities like those in California and New Jersey are making it illegal to install electric heat and the like, due to consumption demand on the utility.
If you still want electric, you need to be sure to perform a demand calculation to ensure that the service size is adequate.
Old 10-30-05, 06:22 AM
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I live in Georgia so there are no laws agains electric. And I've heard the benefits of gas, but it's the peace of mind knowing there will be no gas leaks with electric. Here's my problem: We haven't even started construction on our home...the lot hasn't even been cleared of trees. The builder is telling me that it is going to cost me an extra $901 to have an 80 gallon electric water heater. He is saying that it costs extra for the electrician and double for the plumber. I've posted this question to plumbing and they said that there is no difference in plumbing for electric vs gas so there should not be an extra cost. I do understand the extra work for the electrician. I've heard, "220V feed...30amp...dedicated circuit breaker..." What adds up to $901 extra?
Old 10-30-05, 07:17 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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The builder is trying to pull a fast one. The plumbing is the same. The electric is different, but the labor is the same, with a small price difference for materials (electric water heater requires 240 volt breaker and larger wire, which are a little more expensive).

One other point. Electric weater heaters are cheaper than gas models. Gas models have extra cost associated with venting the exhaust and running the gas line. Bottome line is that for installation in a new house, the price is about the same.

One final note, and this is my opinion. Go with gas as much as possible. For heat, for hot water and for clothes drying. In the long run you'll be glad you did.
Old 10-30-05, 07:35 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,041
The tank itself probably costs $100 less than a gas. On the other hand, if you are looking at an 80 gallon electric, you could probably get by with a 50 gallon gas, or possibly a 60 gallon high-demand model.

Remember that the recovery of an electric is much slower.

Is you electric service sized large enough to add a 30 amp double pole load, or does it need to be increased?

The reason your area is all gas is probably related to the cost of electric.

There are millions of gas water heaters throughout the country, and you dont hear about people dropping dead left and right from gas leaks. Stringent codes have made these very safe. You DO hear about people being electrocuted trying to fool around with the thermostats on electric water heaters.
Old 10-30-05, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
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Another thing to consider is that the recovery time with gas water heaters is much less than with electric. It might mean that you don't need an 80-gallon tank if you go gas. If you really have need for that much hot water, you might also consider tankless, which is more practical with gas than with electric, and easier to install during new construction than to retrofit.

I don't know what that $901 is going for, so you might ask for more details. It might create the need for 200-amp service where the builder was going to go with 150-amp. But surely the extra cost for that would be much more than offset by avoiding the need to run any gas and flue lines around the house, especially if this change is being requested early in the process. Of course, some builders hate change requests, or see them as an opportunity for increased income. If the plans for the house are already complete with a gas water heater, there is additional work for the builder for the time it takes to change the plans and renegotiate with the subs.

I think the builder is charging you full price for the extra cost to install the electric water heater, without granting you any of the savings from not having to install the gas water heater. Ask him how much it saves him to not install the gas pipes and flues.
Old 10-30-05, 11:18 AM
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Thank you so much for your advice and knowledge! I am meeting with the salesperson on Monday to discuss this in more detail. I will keep you posted on this dilemma.
Old 10-31-05, 09:53 AM
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I had the meeting with the salesperson this morning. We've decided to stay with the standard gas water heater and gas furnace. I feel more confident, after hearing from professionals like yourselves, that gas is safe and more efficient. Plus, the builder believed that his quote of $901 was justified to change to electric, even though he couldn't give me the details of how he got to that figure! Thank you again for all your input!
Old 10-31-05, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
I think he's just trying to discourage change requests. And he's doing a good job of it.

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