Gas or Electric? Choosing a Water Heater for Your Home

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Your water heater is responsible for a large percentage of your energy usage in your house. It’s essential that you choose a heater that’s best suited to your needs and your home, as it can save you a substantial amount of money every month. 

When making your decision, you have to look at the cost of the units themselves, and what types of hot water heaters are available.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using either gas or electric water heaters. Here are some helpful tips on how to choose between them: 

What Is the Difference Between Gas and Electric Water Heaters?

First, it’s important to understand the difference between gas and electric water heaters.

Both have to be properly maintained, and professionals should be consulted if any plumbing repair issues come up.

The choice between getting a gas or electric water heater mainly comes down to the expense and how much space you have available. 

The fuel source in your home will also determine what type of water heater you need to buy. While some homes have natural gas, many are limited to just electricity – in which case you will need to get an electric water heater. 

Electric heaters use a coiled electrical element to warm water, while gas heaters use the energy from natural gas to do so.

Both water heaters usually require permits and inspections upon installation, which is why it’s important to get expert advice before making a decision. 

A Gas Water Heater

Gas heaters are a bit more expensive to install, but the lower price of natural gas often makes up for this cost, since it is cheaper than using electricity in most regions. This unit has pipes connected to it. 

Pros:

  • You will still have hot water if your electricity goes out. 
  • When it comes to energy consumption, natural gas is cheaper. 
  • The unit will last between 10 to 15 years, depending on how well it is maintained. 
  • It heats water quickly and is energy efficient. 
  • A gas heater has a faster recovery rate than an electric heater – its water tank reheats more quickly after being used. 

Cons:

  • It is slightly more expensive to buy a gas unit than it is to buy an electric water heater. 
  • You would have to get a gas line put in if your home doesn’t already have natural gas. 
  • Installation could be dangerous and expensive. 
  • They lose some of the heat they produce. 
  • Relighting of the pilot light is sometimes needed. 
  • The lifespan is shorter than that of an electric water heater. 
  • There is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Electric Water Heater

If you only have a small area available in which to place the heater, the electric unit is your best option. The electric water heater is simple, with only a supply cord necessary to run it. 

Pros:

  • They are smaller and can fit into tight spaces. 
  • They are cheaper and easier to install than gas heaters. They don’t need the complicated gas hookup and open flame heating mechanism of gas heaters. 
  • They are safer to use. Electric heaters can’t leak fuel or explode. 
  • It doesn’t need relighting, as it doesn’t have a pilot light. 
  • Comes in more different sizes than gas water heaters. 
  • They last up to three years longer than gas water heaters. 
  • You can get a longer warranty for an electric water heater. 
  • An electric heater has a separate thermostat. The heating element switches off when the water reaches the temperature that is desired. 

Cons:

  • When your electricity goes out, you will have no hot water. 
  • They take longer to heat water. 
  • They cost more to run than gas-powered heaters. 

An electric water heater takes longer to heat water and is more expensive to operate than a gas heater, but it does heat the water more efficiently.

Heat can’t really be lost, as the heating rods are submerged in water in a sealed tank. 

Gas water heaters tend to burn hotter than electric ones, but they are less efficient, as energy is lost through the vent at the top.

However, this vent is needed for the discharging of toxic gas produced during the heating process. 

Final Thoughts

More people are starting to prefer electric water heaters, as they are becoming increasingly efficient.

Before you buy a heater for your home, you need to do thorough research and consider all the advantages and disadvantages of the different units. 

A water heater is a long-term investment, so it’s essential that you buy one that best suits your and your family’s personal needs, priorities, and budget.

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