Electric vs Gas Water Heater: Which is Best for Your Home?

If you’re trying to decide between an electric vs gas water heater, you want to make an informed¬†decision – preferably one that’s aided by advice from industry professionals. That’s where we come in.

Why A Quality Heater Matters

First of all: we get it.

Nobody cares about the differences between an electric vs gas water heater – until your stops working and you’re forced to make the impossible choice of taking an ice cold shower in December or going on a first date without showering after hitting the gym.

Then you really start to wish you’d given more thought to finding the best water heater out there.

Though the first hot water heater was invented in 1868, thankfully, technology has improved – and now you have lots of choices about how you get your hot water.

Let’s Take A Look At The Costs

Let’s not mess around: when it comes to making the choice between an electric vs gas water heater, one of the biggest factors is M-O-N-E-Y.

Interestingly, hot water heaters make up about 17% of a household’s total energy use¬†– meaning that it can really make your utility bills add up.

It’s Electric!

First of all, unless you have a gas line connected to your home (or are willing to take on the costs that come with having one installed) the only choice you have is an electric heater. And that’s not a bad thing!

When it comes to the costs associated with an electric water heater, it’s really whether you go with an option that has a storage tank or pick a tankless option that makes the difference in your wallet.

Though a storage tank option is less expensive to purchase (around $400) and to install, (another $400 or so) it will take up a good amount of space. A tankless option may be more space-efficient, but is more expensive (usually over $1,000) to buy and to install (another $1,000.)

It’s A Gas!

Let’s compare electric vs gas water heaters now.

Gas heaters are more expensive up front than electric options, (especially because their installation requires PVC pipes) and sometimes they can incur higher operating costs than their electric counterparts.

However, gas heaters are more energy efficient, meaning your utility bill will be lower every month – meaning they’re more cost-effective for larger families. Plus, they often still work even when your home loses power, and they heat up much faster than electric heaters.

With all these numbers, is it any wonder water heating is a $2 billion a year industry?

Consider The Source and The Environmental Impact of Electric vs Gas Water Heaters

When it comes to electric vs gas water heaters, it’s not just their cost that sets them apart from each other.

It’s also how they’re heated that can make a difference – especially when it comes to their impact on the environment.

It can be hard to determine whether it’s electric vs gas heaters that have a lower overall effect on the environment. Electric water heaters are heated from many different sources: including things like nuclear or natural gas power plants, coal, or even wind power.

Gas heaters, on the other hand, are heated by one thing and one thing only: you guessed it, natural gas.

This means that for the most part, when you’re considering the efficiency of these two heaters, gas is the way to go. This is because most of the electricity in America comes from fossil fuels that aren’t even operating at half their potential efficiency. So, when you’re using gas, your water is being heated in a way that’s a little more gentle on the environment.

Keep in mind, though, that if you take carbon emissions into serious consideration (not just fuel efficiency) when evaluating the footprint of your heater, you have to think about where most of your electricity is coming from. If your main source is coal power plants, then when it comes to electric vs gas water heaters, your carbon imprint might be about even.

What’s the Life Expectation of Each Option?

Ironically, this is the one area where our two contenders are pretty evenly matched!

Both electric and gas water heaters last an average of 12 and 13 years – though electric water heaters will cost you about $1,000 more in operating costs than their gas counterparts.

Still, at least you’ll only have to make this difficult choice once every 12 years.

Let’s Talk About Re-Heating Speeds

Though we’ve mentioned that gas water heaters take less time than electric water heaters to warm your water, we haven’t talked numbers – also known as the “recovery rate:”

AKA, how long it takes for the water to heat back up after it goes cold.

If you like to take long showers, or if you have a larger family that always seems to be fighting over who gets to take a shower while the water is still warm, this can be an important factor in your choice.

It takes a gas water heater only an hour to heat an entire 50-gallon tank of water – but unfortunately, an electric option can take double or even triple the amount of time to heat that much water. That’s whether it’s heating it for the first time or just “recovering.”

And yes, believe it or not, factors like the climate of your environment can sometimes have an impact on heating and reheating time.

Bottom line: in the debate of electric vs gas water heaters, in terms of recovery speed, gas is faster every time. But remember: they’re also more expensive!

In the end, it’s all about prioritizing what is the most important to you.

Final Takeaways On Electric vs Gas Water Heaters

There are so many different factors that can go into choosing between an electric and gas water heater: cost, energy management, capacity, and environmental impact are still only a few of the things people consider.

If you still have questions, don’t sweat it!

Instead, reach out to an experienced professional that can help you effectively evaluate the needs of your household and select the best heating system for you. Contact us today to learn more about all the services we offer – and to make sure you never take a cold shower again!