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Gas Vs. Electric Water Heaters

water heaters
Reading Time: 2 minutes

When choosing a water heater, efficiency is a main concern because according to the department of energy, 14-18 percent of our energy use comes from heating water. There are two types of heaters that you can choose from: Gas and Electric. Gas water heaters use natural gas to generate the energy needed to heat water, while electric heaters use electric resistance coils. Though 60% of homes in the Unites States use gas powered water heaters, this does not necessarily mean that using a gas heater will be right for you and your family. You can often find the energy factor or EF number on the heater for both gas and electric. This number will help you compare the efficiency of the appliances that you are comparing. The bigger the number, the more efficient the heater.

Here are some of the differences between Gas and Electric water heaters to help you make the right choice.

Pros of Buying a Gas Heater:

  • The gas heaters generally pay for themselves in energy savings after a year.
  • Gas water heaters are able to heat more hot water per hour than electric, making them a good option for large families. A fifty-gallon tank can be heated in one hour, while it could take a few hours to heat an electric tank.
  • Gas heaters will still work during a power outage.

Cons of Buying a Gas Heater:

  • Gas is less efficient than electricity.
  • The cost of a gas heater is more than an electric heater.
  • Because water is heated at all times, there is more heat loss through the walls of the storage tank.
  • Without proper maintenance, you may risk an explosion from a gas leak.
  • You must install extra piping for the gas exhaust.

The Pros of Choosing an Electric Water Heater:

  • Many options are available that include larger and smaller tanks for both long term and immediate use.
  • Electric heaters have been developed to only heat the water you need when you turn it on.
  • They are more efficient because water is not constantly being heated. This leads to energy savings.
  • Electric heaters need less space because they do not need the addition of the release exhaust. 

The Cons of Choosing an Electric Water Heater:

  • Electric heaters have a low recovery rate, so if you have a large family, you may have to wait hours for the water tank to heat up.
  • Because the cost of electricity has gone up, the cost of maintaining and using an electric water heater is much higher than gas. In fact, the energy you save in efficiency will often be lost in the cost of electricity.

Choosing a water heater can be difficult and ultimately, it comes down to the size of your family and the cost of electricity versus gas. These pricing differences can vary depending on where you live. For this reason, you should be sure to check the costs for your area. Gas and electric heaters often have similar installation prices and last the same number of years, so it can be difficult to make a decision. At the end of the day going through the homework to make sure you choose the right water heater will work toward saving you a lot of money in the long run. You can find out more about maintaining and buying a water heater by contacting Art Plumbing and AC.


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