So your water heater is busted. Time for a new one! In addition to scouring for a great deal, you’ll also want to consider the types available for purchase. There are two main types of water heaters: gas vs. electric. To decide which water heater is right for you, it’s important you understand the key differences in their operations, costs, and efficiency.
Electric Water Heater
An electric water heater is a tank that heats water with high-voltage electric heating rods that run vertically through the tank. Electric water heaters require a 240-volt dedicated circuit, which serves only the water heater and no other appliances or devices.
Gas Water Heater
A gas water heater is a tank that heats water from a gas-fired burner and heat exchanger. The water is heated and stored until needed. Once the faucet is turned on, hot water is drawn from the top of the tank and replaced with cold water at the bottom.
Gas and electric water heaters serve the same purpose: providing hot water to your home. But despite sharing the same goal, these types of water heaters can differ vastly when it you start assessing these key areas of interest
The Difference Between A Gas and Electric Water Heater
- Energy Efficiency
The cost of a water heater is entirely dependent on its size, efficiency, and quality. Like most appliances, the higher the cost, the better the machine will run. That said, if you’re deciding between two similar sized gas and electric heaters, you can expect to spend more on the gas. This is because you will save on operation costs down the line due to the cost of natural gas being lower than electricity. Switching to natural gas can save you 30% or more in electricity and gas have a quicker “recovery rate”.
When it comes to efficiency, electric heaters take the cake. Despite gas water heaters being less expensive to run due to the cost of natural gas, a gas heater uses more energy to operate, and releases waste into the atmosphere. Furthermore, the by-product released takes some of the heat with it, making it less efficient. An electric heater, on the other hand, will use most of its energy to warm water, which makes it more energy efficient.
But before you rule out a gas heater, remember that there are energy-efficient gas heaters that use less energy overall. Regardless of the type you choose, be sure to look for heaters with an Energy Star label!
Electric water heaters are easier to install than gas heaters, and also take up less space than a gas tank. Nevertheless, you will still need a professional to perform the installation process. Installing a gas heater requires a heater contractor as the process deals with gas lines and venting—a serious safety concern. You must also consider that your gas vs. electric decision will be largely influenced by the type of power that is already in your home.
It’s important to note that gas heaters might need more maintenance over the years, but there isn’t much of a difference in terms of lifespan when compared to their electric counterparts. A properly maintained gas unit should last approximately 10 years, while an electric heater might last a couple years longer. Whichever water heating system you opt for, it’s always best practice to prioritize maintenance.
Our team at CampbellCare is dedicated to raising the bar for plumbing and HVAC service standards. If you’re looking to have your new water heater installed, or simply have a question about water heaters, contact us today!