2 Units, 1 Gas Water Heater- Help Reduce Expenses?

3 Replies

Hello!

My Duplex currently has 1 gas tank WH serving both units.  Owner paying for water AND gas.  I'm trying to cut costs and looking for best solution.

  • Is it possible to wire an electric WH to both units?  I don't believe so but I don't claim to know everything
    • IF NOT- Should I just leave the gas water heater and instead install a flow reader on the plumbing so I can get rid of the water expense instead?
  • Another option is turning to electric WH for each unit but then I would also be paying for electric+plumbing+additional WH to get that all setup.

Is there something I'm not seeing or a better solution?  Right now I think the flow meter would be the best option.

Appreciate any insight!

Thanks,

Tim

No, you can not wire 1 HW heater to 2 different panels, even if you did you still wouldn't know who was using how much power. You could just as easily have each tenant pay half of the gas bill now with no changes. This wouldn't technically be fair either.

You could install flow meters and prorate the bill but keep in mind you will have to go out there and read the meters every month or quarter and send them a bill.

The best (and most expensive) solution is to install 2 new electric hot water heaters and replumb each to their respective units. I guess you could also just install 1 new electric hot water heater for 1 unit and then just pass the gas bill on to the other unit. 

@Tim Kaminski

Yes it is possible to wire in 2 separate water heaters and add the necessary plumbing. You will  need a separate breaker for each and of course a location for each water heater. If you don't pay the electric bill this may be your best long term solution. Sounds like you only have one water meter so you can't separate this with out having a separate water meter installed.

I wonder (thinking out loud here) if someone has come up with a simple wifi device that can be added to the main water line feeding each unit so that you could easily split your water bill based on each side use? If so and say your water bill was $100 and side A used 60% of the water that month they would have to pay $60 and side B pay $40.

The gas side would be trickier. If either water or gas bill never gets above a reasonable amount then I would just take the average for a year divide that by 2 and add that to the rent amount.

If you have to buy new water heaters and add plumbing and electrical and even separate meters it will get expensive fast.

@Nicholas W. That's what I thought.  Are there not flow meters that can be looked at digitally?  Have a hard time believing all of them have to be read by physically being there.

@John Underwood Yes there is only 1 water meter.  I believe you are thinking of the flow meters that can be installed in the plumbing where the water enters the other unit.  That is what I'm suggesting and am confident there is one out there that you don't physically have to be there to read it.  I agree, setting up a whole new water heater for the other unit and then having to maintain and replace these sounds expensive.

I think at this time I am planning on a flow meter that I can read remotely.  I'll have to hold onto the single gas WH, and keep it in gas(vs electric as you cannot put the bill all on one unit), and phase out the other gas appliances being used there.

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