Gas or Electric Water Heater – Which is Right for You?
The choice between an electric and gas water heater is one many homeowners must make. Many factors influence which kind of water heater is right for you, and the answer will be unique to the needs of your household. The problem is, they don’t exactly teach you this in school!
That’s where we come in. Discover the pros and cons of gas and electric water heaters below. Keep reading so you can make the right choice for your home!
The pros and cons of electric water heaters
First, let’s review the electric water heater. These are commonplace, and many homes already have older electrical models installed. Whether your home is one of them or not, it’s important to understand how owning an electric water heater can impact your daily life.
The benefits of electric water heaters
- Short pipe runs: You can install electric heaters anywhere, so they require less piping. This can save you time and money if you’re considering a new system.
- Lower initial price: For most modern homes, purchasing and installing an electric heater presents a cheaper initial cost. However, this will depend on a home’s construction, so it’s best to consult a professional.
- Easy to hook up: Most homes already rely on electricity, so hooking up an electric-style water heater is typically simpler than a gas heater.
The challenges of electric water heaters
- More costly day-to-day: Older models radiate heat because they store the water in a tank, leading to heat loss and a consistent draw on power, increasing costs. Instant water heaters typically draw power in peak times, meaning the cost to heat the water runs a little higher.
- Long heat recovery: Once the tank is empty, these heaters take longer to refill and reheat the water to capacity. This means longer wait times for hot water.
- Slower to heat water: Electric water heaters take about twice as long as their gas counterparts.
- Doesn’t operate without power: Electric water heaters go out of commission in power outages. This means any water waiting in the tank goes cold, and no more water can be heated until the power returns.
- Might require separate wiring: If you opt for an instant electric heater, you may need to spring for dedicated heavy-duty wiring to support the power draw.
The pros and cons of gas water heaters
Gas water heaters are perfect for people searching for lower daily running costs and faster heating. While less common, these are ideal for homes with a gas line installed and often worth the initial effort.
The benefits of gas water heaters
- Quicker heat recovery: Electric cylinders can take up to ninety minutes to reheat an entire tank, but gas cylinders are much faster. On average, you only need to wait about twenty minutes.
- Lower operating costs: Gas systems are up to 95% efficient, saving you energy. This, in turn, saves quite a lot of money on daily energy costs compared to electric cylinders.
- Operates during power failures: Gas heaters are for you if you live somewhere with unstable or inconsistent access to power. They keep the water warm even when the lights are out!
- Fine control of temperature: Gas systems allow for fine control of how hot you want your water to get. By adjusting the temperature on the thermostat, you can control the maximum heat of the water and even increase energy efficiency.
- Options for automatic ignition: New gas systems offer automatic ignition rather than the use of a pilot light, meaning you don’t need to contend with relighting the light.
The challenges of gas water heaters
- Needs a gas system: If your home doesn’t already have a gas system installed, this can present an obstacle. While installing one is simple, it will cost more at the outset.
- Slightly shorter lifespan: Typically, these heaters last between fifteen and thirty years, slightly shorter than a water counterpart.
- Might require relighting:Depending on the model you choose, the pilot light might occasionally need relighting. However, newer systems use an automatic ignition system that doesn’t rely on a constantly burning pilot light.