Friday, January 08, 2010

Best Heating Choice

Alright, if you arrived at this blog post hoping to find some key information about efficient heating of water and that kind of thing, I'm afraid you'll find yourself disappointed. However you will be in good company, because I'm looking for that information myself.

We have a 50 gallon natural gas water heater, which provides the hot water for our home. Usually it's adequate, but for two things:

1. The master bathroom has a nice big jetted tub. 50 gallons get's it full enough to turn on the jets, but that's about it, and by that point, it's not quite as warm as we would like.

2. In recent months, the flow from the heater itself has been dwindling. I suspect there may be build up of sediment in the pipes leading to and from the unit, since I've seen that before.

So with that in mind, rebate galore offered by the government and an opportunity to perhaps get a more efficient and environmentally friendly heating solution, we headed out on a fact finding missing this morning.

Here's what it comes down to:

1. We could go tankless, but with the heater, new duct work, and insulation, we may well be looking at about $2,500 dollars. There could be a 30% rebate on it, plus $300 from the gas company, but that's still a whole lot of coin to be handing over.

2. We could get a 75 or 100 gallon tank, but they are really expensive and we still have to get it into the basement and find place for it in the space next to the furnace.

3. One associate suggested getting 2 50 gallon tanks and running them in tandem with each other. Actually not a bad idea, and since I could likely do most of it myself, we'd probably end up with it costing us in the $1,200 range.

4. Another suggestion was just to replace the current heater with another 50 gallon one, and then get an inline heater for the jetted tub. Those heaters run about $200 and so our total cost here would be $700. The online reservation I have with this option is whether the heater is designed to heat the water up, or just maintain it at a high temperature.

Needless to say, much thinking, calculating and further research will be done in the coming days.

Stay tuned... We're hoping to see Invictus tomorrow. I will likely love it and cry over it, no matter how good of a movie it is.


  1. Dude, you need gas fired, continuous hot water - it NEVER runs out of hot water (not that I've ever tested it, but still) -

  2. the dancing mouse is right.

    one thing you might want to look at is a separate, small heater for the jacuzzi tub. the technology has come a long way and these are incredibly small and efficient even compared to five years ago. i don't know if utah has a program but where we live we get credits to offset some of the cost of these sorts of upgrades from both the government and the utility companies.

    if i lived in utah i'd also look at perhaps a solar array on the roof. i'm assuming you own your own house (?) and its not a condo. you get so much sun, even in the winter, that it might be worth your while.

  3. Gregoire is spot on with the solar thing, except for your winters of course. Half the year though, or more, free hot water! We want to but have to replace the roof first, and it's all just too hard to get started.

  4. We're definitely considering solar power... But as with everything, it does require a fairly sizable investment up front. That's the problem with the tankless heater as well.

    It's more than double the cost of a new 50 gal heater, and I would need to have a professional install it, whereas the regular one, I could likely install myself.

    There are tax credits available and some local energy rebates, but while they offer some incentive, it's still not quite enough to make the decision purely on economics terms.

    I should add too, that we began the year with a family sit down, to discuss how to pay down our debt, since we could really use less of that and more income coming in. But that's a whole other topic...