Dueling Fuels

Natural Gas, Propane or Electric – What’s Right for You?

Dueling Fuels

In a world with multiple fuel options, selecting one can be difficult. Don’t worry, keep reading.

If you have decided that a tankless water heater is right for you and your family, you are well on your way to making a smart lifestyle decision. Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters provide homeowners certain advantages over traditional tank-style water heaters, such as energy and space savings and an endless supply of hot water.

When selecting a whole-home hot-water solution, you have a couple of fuel options: natural gas, propane or electric. While gas-fueled and electric tankless models eliminate standby loss—or heat that escapes through the jacket or piping of a traditional tank—electric tankless water heaters can have some drawbacks.

Whole-home electric tankless water heaters can require an expensive electrical upgrade. According to the Electric Tankless Water Heating Competitive Assessment, the cost of upgrading a home’s electric service to accommodate a tankless water heater can cost thousands of dollars and must be considered when evaluating the opportunity. On the flip side, gas tankless units require very little electricity and can typically operate with a regular 120-volt outlet.

Another note about electric tankless water heaters—because the units draw a large amount of electrical current—they can demand large amounts of electricity during peak periods. In some areas, homeowners requiring high electric demand during peak periods can potentially incur a demand fee in addition to the electric costs. Not only that, it also puts a strain on an already overloaded electric system. In contrast, gas-fueled water heaters don’t burden “the grid,” and some smaller utilities go so far as to promote alternative fuel-type water heaters through financial incentives to avoid peak demand issues.

An additional incentive for choosing a gas tankless water heater is the $300 Federal tax credit. Through Dec. 31, 2013, gas tankless water heaters that have an energy factor of at least 0.82 or a thermal efficiency of at least 90 percent are eligible.

While both electric and gas tankless water heaters can offer certain benefits that traditional tank-type water heaters can’t, a gas tankless water heater is a smart choice. According to www.toolbase.org, choosing a gas-fueled tankless water heater over an electric tankless water heater can result in an additional savings of $10 to $60 dollars per year. If you want to see what a gas tankless water heater can save your family, try Rinnai’s convenient savings calculator.

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