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propane water heater and dryer

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  • propane water heater and dryer

    i was at a golf course grounds shop to look at a propane water heater. since i'm a "big city" plumber and not a "country" plumber, is there anything different to worry about. the new heater will be built for propane. still trying to figure out if a tankless or 40 gallon heater will be best. tankless has no standing pilot and will only need to supply hot water to a sink and 1 washing machine for rags. the machine does only 1 load a day. therefore eliminating alot of heat loss in a 40 gallon storage tank. the propane tank feeding the grounds service shop is 500 gallons.

    there is also a propane dryer that has a standing pilot lite. i've never seen a standing pilot on a dryer. is this beause this is an old dryer or a propane dryer?

    the 4 burner propane cook top is also a standing pilot. this is an older unit too.

    basically is it worth running a new 1'' gas line 120' to feed this tankless heater? or is the extra gas consumption for the pilot and stand by heat loss for a 40 gallon tank heater not worth the extra expense?

    1 last thought. the water heater shed needs replacing, the vent is not above the roof and will need replacing and the 120' gas pipe is installed on the dirt and rusting away anyways. with the tankless i will eliminate the shed, venting and instead of a 3/4'' gas line to replace, it will be a 1'' line for the tankless.

    what do you think about an electric heater on a timer to turn on at 4:30 am. for a 5:30 am work load. turn off at 2:00 pm, quitting time. remember the heater will only be used for 1 or 2 loads of laundry and a sink to wash your hands in the bathroom.

    i need your thoughts and input. what would you do?

    is the propane dryer too old and the new ones are pilotless?

    go tankless?

    40 gallon heater?

    electric with time clock?

    does the new propane gas line need to be pitched for any kind of liquid to be drained?


    phoebe it is

  • #2
    i say go with the electric water heater because there is no need for a quick recovery . and i do not think it needs a timer unless they got a brake on electric at night. just wrap the water heater with insulation .

    if you go with propane the pilot does not use much gas at all. the gas line does not need to be pitched , you need drip leg before the gas valve to catch the moisture in the line .

    then is the gas line the right size for that long of a run and btu.

    I'm sure the newer dryers are all hot surface igniter

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    • #3
      Before switching to electric, did you check the breaker box to see if there was ample power available?

      I am reasonably certain all new dryers and stoves are pilotless, in any case the small pilot lights use a negligable amount of fuel.

      If you are replacing a bad gas pipe I would upsize it to allow for future expansion and to allow for full sized gas fixtures in the future even if you do change over to electric.

      Here in the mid west gas is still a lot cheaper to use than electric and that includes natural or propane. It sounds like there are structural issues regarding the shed. Protect yourself here, provide the owner with his options and his costs regarding the issues that invlove you, make no real reccomendation one way or the other unless you are really pushed for it. Let him make the decision. MHO
      Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.


      • #4
        thanks hvac and plumber.

        what i meant as a shed is actually a 150'-175' metal work, storage shop. the gas line will need to be replaced anyways as the other fixtures are still needed. the reason for a timer on the electric heater is quite simple. the work force is only there from 5:30 am- 2:00 pm. no need to keep the heater running even if it only reheats 1 or 2 times per evening. this alone will save the cost real quick and make the heater elements last alot longer. as far as the electrical load goes. no problem there is 3 phase in the shop. the real club house/ country club has natural gas. cost is not that critical. i was looking at a way of saving propane and giving them more bang for the buck.

        looks like the electric heater is the least expensive route both in the short term and long term. a tankless noritz propane 6.9 gpm heater cost about $800.00 plus the 120' of gas piping. a 50 gallon electric cost about $275.00. the wiring and timer should be alot less than the gas system with 3 other connection points. i've also seen an electric heater last for 20 years with no issues. i can't see a tankless last this long without service and deliming.

        thanks for the input.

        phoebe it is


        • #5
          its funny i have a 40gal natural gas water heater that has a 5yr warranty and is going on 12yrs . at the time i got this i did not have the money for 20yr warranty . my neighbor had a 20yr hwh for 10yrs and i had to help him change it 3 times .

          its funny some times i get longer warranty's and your glad you have them , then your lucky to not have a long warranty and thing last a long time.

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          • #6
            " I've also seen an electric heater last for 20 years with no issues. "

            Best thing for any water heater is an annual flush/draining per the owners manual to keep the crud buildup down. On the electrics as I am sure you are aware, when the lower heating element gets buried in silt/scale/whatever, its essentially useless and just ends up heating that dirt and doing little to contribute to heating water. All those kilowatts are wasted energy. Add to that the reduced capacity of the tank and loss of recovery capability, and an annual draining can be 'sold' to the owner. This is something most should be able to do themselves, I just think that going over the procedure with them when you install a new heater and describing the 'whys' will convince them to do the maintenance or call someone (maybe you since you were good enough to tell them about it) to do it for them or maybe other work.

            I think for the application that was outlined at the beginning of this thread an electric water heater is the most cost effective. The energy cost may be higher but the payback period for the gas is much greater since you would have to bring a line 120' into the building and the higher equipment costs up front, all of which Rick pointed out, I am just saying I agree.
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