Water heaters are an essential component of a modern home’s livability and comfort levels. There are many options when it comes to heat sources for your water heater, including gas and electric. To help you decide which option is right for you, this guide will cover the pros and cons of gas vs. electric water heaters.
Gas Vs. Electric Water Heaters
The Hidden Costs
Gas water heaters are still the most common type of home heating system in America, but many people have switched to electric models. The cost and efficiency advantages make them a great option for homeowners who don’t want gas leaks or loud noises disturbing their peace.
But there can be hidden costs that you might not think about when buying an electric model: they typically require more maintenance than gas ones, and they also need electricity at all times.
What is the cost difference between the two options? Although there is a regulatory component, it is mostly about supply and demand. Residential electric water heaters, on the whole, contain fewer components and are therefore less expensive to produce; nevertheless, in certain areas, legislation or ordinances are forcing the usage of heat pump water heaters (HPWHs).
Which kind of water heater is better for the environment? Why? Although gas heaters have an exhaust feature that most people would quickly dismiss as being unfriendly to the environment, you must also consider the carbon footprint of how power is created. Both of these fuel sources have an inherent environmental impact unless they come from a renewable source.
The main advantage of gas water heaters is that they tend to be more energy-efficient than electric ones.
Both categories include high-efficiency alternatives as well as specialty goods like tankless or heat pump water heaters that may save money on energy while producing the same amount or more hot water than older versions. These better-efficiency solutions, on the other hand, usually come with higher maintenance expenses.
Which is the most straightforward to set up? Both gas and electric have the same water hookups. To complete the installation of a gas water heater, both a gas connection and an exhaust connection must be made. The line voltage connections on an electric water heater are usually three in total. Both should be professionally installed to ensure that they meet all local code standards.
Is the brand of the water heater more important than the type? The kind of application, like having the correct tool for the task, is always vital. Both kinds of water heaters have advantages and disadvantages. The brand does, after all, matter. Not all water heaters are made to the same standard of quality, and not all companies provide the same degree of support and customer care.
What is the percentage of homeowners that use one kind over the other throughout the country? In general, the gas vs electric split in the water heater business is close to 50/50.
Typically, a homeowner will request that what was previously installed be replaced. How difficult is it to switch to a different kind of water heater (gas or electric) if the house only has one type of energy source? (What goes into gas conversion if a residence only has an electric source for WH and vice versa)
Utility upgrades may be rather complicated and will almost probably need the services of an expert. If you’re switching from gas to electric, you’ll need not just a plumber, but also an electrician to update the electrical panel and install an outlet for an electric water heater.
Converting from electric to gas may need installing gas pipelines or upgrading the system to manage the increased demand. Because an all-electric house is unlikely to have a chimney, gas water heater alternatives are restricted.
It would be necessary to use a direct vent, power vent, or power direct gas model. Natural gas supply is often restricted, so if a house or company owner wishes to discontinue utilizing an electric product, propane solutions may have to be investigated.
What happens if there is a power outage? Electricity is required to heat water in an electric water heater. If the tank loses electricity, the stored water will not be reheated until the power is restored. The previously hot water in the tank will be useable till it is drained or cools down gradually.
Is tankless (electric vs. gas) a new level or layer to this discussion? Explain. Yes. Tankless water heaters are often discussed; yet, in many cases, electric choices are not considered for whole-house applications. While electrical requirements may be unfeasible for many houses, advances in gas technology have made tankless gas possible in the correct installations and climates, utilizing natural gas or propane.
Is there a notable difference in size between the two (gas vs. electric)? In terms of the actual items, identical diameters and footprints are prevalent for gallon capacities. Due to venting regulations, space variances will be more about the gas product’s “add-ons” (e.g. blower, draft hood).
Which kind is more dependable in terms of longevity? Electric water heaters have a few years longer average working lifetime than gas water heaters.
Models with great efficiency are available for both energy sources. Electric water heaters with immersion heating elements are used in entry-level versions. Most of the heat energy of the elements is absorbed into the surrounding water since they are immediately submerged in it. A combustion chamber is used in gas water heaters, which are typically positioned below the water tank. In addition to the flue(s) that are surrounded by the stored water, heat is transported via the bottom of the tank.
This is not the end of the narrative. Another metric that may be used to compare models is annual running costs. While local utility pricing has a significant impact on these expenses, gas models often indicate lower yearly operating costs. Water heaters are graded according to the amount of hot water they can provide (i.e. First Hour Rating). Models will be placed in one of four draw bins based on their First Hour Rating. Because the operating cost is affected, a model should only be compared to other models in the same draw bin.
Other Important Factors
Could the choice between gas and electric come down to how much water has to be heated? (How many individuals are in the house, and what are their roles?) The most important aspects in water heater selection are infrastructure, accessible fuel sources, and hot water demand, all of which contractors must understand before making recommendations or performing installations.
Is it true that electric water heaters are safer? The best method to ensure that your gas or electric-fueled water heater is working effectively and safely is to have it installed and maintained by a certified expert.
Finally, why is the debate between gas and electricity so divisive? It’s because of a lack of comprehension. Electricity is a perplexing subject for many plumbers since it is not part of their regular practice. It’s the same for customers. They are more at ease with what they use on a regular basis, and it has traditionally served them well.
In the “pros and cons of electric water heaters” there are the facts that will help you in making your decision. The pros of electric water heaters include a quieter operation, more efficient heating, and better energy efficiency. They also have longer warranties than gas models. However, they do require electricity which can be costly in some cases.
If you live or work in a large building that has been temporarily closed, the water heater may not be the biggest issue. Rather, stagnant water could be the problem that needs to be addressed. For more, see Reopening Facilities With Stagnant Water Systems: Key Considerations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to have an electric or gas water heater?
A: This is a difficult question. In general, an electric water heater will be more energy efficient and cost less in the long-term than gas, but it might not heat your house as well on cold days. The best way to determine water heating system for you is by calculating how much hot water you typically use per day and what type of rate plan would make sense for that amount over time.
Which lasts longer electric or gas water heater?
A: Electric water heaters last longer.
What are some of the benefits of an electric water heater versus a gas water heater?
A: An electric water heater is an excellent choice for anyone looking to conserve energy, while a gas water heater can be less expensive in the long run.
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