Most individuals across the nation are able to turn on their faucet and out comes hot water. They do not give the source of their hot water much thought — that is until they no longer have hot water.
Ignoring your home’s water heater system may mean that you’re passing up on an opportunity to save energy, and in turn, money. That is why you need to consider the differences between gas and electric hot water heaters based on your specific needs.
Gas vs Electric Hot Water Heaters — How Do They Compare?
Today, the most popular options for standard water heaters use either an electric heating element or gas flame to heat water. Whether you’re installing a new hot water heater or replacing an old one, it’s important to weigh your options.
Both options offer clear pros and cons in terms of options and efficiencies. Here’s what you need to know.
When analyzing the cost to run an electric hot water heater vs gas, gas water heaters typically have a higher initial price tag. However, they cost less to operate compared to electric options. Of course, there are many variables to consider here, including how big and efficient a hot water heater is. Because of these variables, in select cases, electric hot water heaters cost more. However, for the most part, they’re fairly comparable (typically within $100 of one another).
So, which is more cost-effective a gas or electric water heater?
Overall, across their lifespan, electric tend to cost more, as this option results in higher utility bills and more maintenance across time. For example, tubes and elements tend to burn out more rapidly. Also, water heating accounts for approximately 18 percent of your home’s energy usage. So depending on your local utility costs, gas is often your best bet.
To better compare, here are some clear advantages and disadvantages associated with gas and electric hot water heaters.
Advantages of gas hot water heaters:
- Gas heaters tend to heat water faster
- Lower monthly energy costs
- Will work when there’s a power outage
- More readily available and there are better size and model options, including high-efficiency tanks
Disadvantages of gas hot water heaters:
- Inconsistent water pressure due to tank
- There can be some heat loss, reducing overall efficiency
- Potential gas restrictions
- Higher cost upfront
- Slightly higher safety concerns
Advantages of electric hot water heaters:
- Electric is more eco-friendly compared to gas water heaters
- Are often easier to install (i.e. not needing to work with gas lines)
- Compared to gas hot water heaters, electric heats are generally less to purchase upfront
- No venting is required
Disadvantages of electric hot water heaters:
- Typically require more maintenance across their lifespan
- Highly monthly costs
- High-efficiency models do not exist
- Water does not heat as quickly
In summary, electric water heaters are more compact, can be easily connected in any home with electricity, and are less costly upfront. However, because of higher utility bills, they are more expensive in the long run and they also have a longer recovery time.
In contrast, gas water heaters have a higher recovery rate, heating water much more rapidly; their overall operating costs are lower; and they still work when there’s no electricity. On the flip side, the initial costs are higher (i.e. the installation of a ventilation system) and there are some safety risks involved.
Is One Option Better Than the Other Based on Region?
Where you live in terms of climate generally matters more when deciding between a tank or tankless hot water system. For example, tankless water heaters do not work as well in cold climates. While focusing on gas vs electric, convenience plays a role in Utah, particularly in terms of venting, as well as the type of area you live in. For example, in rural areas, it may be challenging to access natural gas. Space is also something to consider (i.e. a house vs a condo or apartment.
Perhaps one of the most important variables to consider is the type of fuel source you have in your home. Considering 1 in 4 U.S. homes is completely electric, your primary fuel source matters. If your home is limited to electricity, an electric hot water heater is the optimal choice. Unless, of course, you have plans to put in a gas line.
When aiming to answer the question, gas vs electric, what is better? There is no simple answer. At Black Diamond Experts, we understand that what’s best for each household is highly situational. While we typically install more gas than electric in Utah, for both Northern and Southern regions, we stand by each homeowner’s wants and needs.
The best option for you will be determined based on numerous variables. For example, how much space do you have available? Gas heaters require venting, so they take up slightly more space. In contrast, electric heaters are more compact, increasing the number of placement options. If you are switching from electric to gas, this may be rather pricey, as a gas line will need to be run and a vent must be created.
How to Choose a Hot Water Heater? Black Diamond Experts Can Help
If you’re located in Utah, Black Diamond Experts (BDE) offers both commercial and residential services. When deciding what hot water heater is right for you, BDE can walk you through the process based on your available space, focusing on what you want, and what makes the most sense based on your circumstances.
Regardless of your needs, BDE offers 24-hour emergency service, upfront pricing, and even financing options! Our expert team will help you choose the best option for you and your unique circumstances, considering everything from the best fuel source to your finances.
It’s also important to discuss the difference between tankless and tank water heater options. You may find out more information on tankless water heat installs here, and tank water heater installs here.