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Electric vs. Gas Water Heater. Which is Better?

Gas water heater has more advantage on monthly energy bill

Water heaters are an integral part of every Canadian household. Most of the time, it is something we tend to not think too much about. Until it stops working and you are shocked with cold water while taking a shower.

There are a lot of reasons for your water heater to stop working. Some because of sediment accumulation or it is just old. The average life expectancy of a water heater is around 8 to 15 years, depending on how well it was maintained. 

There are two main types of water heaters, electric and gas. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Let us compare both.

What is an electric water heater

Standard electric hot water tank heaters use a heating element to turn cold water into hot. Cold water enters the tank through pipes then the heating element heats it up. As the water warms up, it rises to the top then passes through the pipes leading to your faucets.

What is a gas water heater

Gas hot water tank heaters work the same way as the electric unit, it just uses natural gas. Instead of using a heating element, gas water heaters use a gas burner to heat the water. 

How do they compare

Here are a few points to help you decide which one is best for you: gas or electric.

Energy Usage

Gas water heaters’ main source of energy is natural gas. On the other hand, electric water heaters are powered by electricity. Generally, natural gas is cheaper compared to electricity cost but it depends on the utility cost.

Efficiency

When it comes to efficiency, an electric unit is more efficient. We know natural gas is cheaper. However, the gas option uses more energy to operate and it releases waste into the environment which is also something to consider. 

The waste or byproduct of gas water heaters takes some of the heat with it. Lowering the temperature of the water inside the tank. Hence, the gas burner will burn more natural gas to compensate for the heat lost. 

Electric heaters use most of their energy to warm the water. The most energy-efficient water heater in the market is a heat pump. It reuses the hot exhaust gases to heat the cold water.

There are other energy-saving gas water heaters available in the market. Just look for the Energy Star label. Electric units do not have a high energy-efficient style.

Size

Both units are available in 20 to 100 gallons capacity. 

Gas water heaters need a vent to release the exhaust gases. This means it needs slightly more space compared to electric water heaters. Because of the vent needed, the placement of your storage tank gas water heater is limited. 

Electric units are available in a more compact size providing more flexible placement options.

Installation

Installing both electric and gas water heaters is pretty straightforward. With electric heaters, it is plumbed then connected to the ground. On the other hand, if there is an existing vent and gas line, gas heaters are attached to the house’s gas line then connected to the vent.

The tricky part is when you want to replace your electric water heater with a gas unit. Gas lines need to be redirected and there should be a durable vent made from high-quality stainless steel to be able to handle exhaust gases.

I highly recommend calling a professional to install your water heaters. There are electric circuits and gas lines that need to be attached and checked. In addition, a lot of cutting and drilling will be done to finish the installation. If you are not an expert, it can take a long time or worse, it can cause accidents.

Maintenance

Both types need regular flushing to ensure there is no mineral buildup at the bottom of your water tanks.

Gas water heaters need just a little more maintenance and attention because gas lines and gas tanks need to be checked as well. There are chances when there are mineral build-ups or leaks on the gas lines and tanks.

A technician is performing maintenance on a residential water heater

Ongoing maintenance on your water heater is crucial task for better performance

Cost

When it comes to upfront cost, gas water heaters are more expensive. But, because natural gas’ price is low, your monthly utility bill will be lower which compensates for the expensive upfront cost. 

On the other hand, electric water heaters have a lower upfront costs but higher monthly utility costs.

The total cost for both gas and electric units is about the same.

What size of water heater do you need?

The size that you need depends on how many people are in your household and your habits. Some people love to take showers at least twice a day and a bath at night. While some only take showers and not baths. 

To know the exact size and estimate of the size of the storage tank water heater you will need, it is best to call your trusted professionals as MidCity Plumbers. This way, you can be sure that you are getting the right size to deliver enough hot water for your whole family.

Which types of water heater should you choose?

Choosing between gas and electric water heaters goes down to how much available space you have and your budget. Both types provide their conveniences and advantages.

If you are looking for an easy-to-install water heater, go for electric units. But if you want to save on your monthly utility cost and you have a bigger upfront budget, go for gas units.

Whichever you choose, you can be sure that you can enjoy the warm water in your home, anytime.

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