One of the biggest decisions you need to make when you install a new water heater is whether you want an electric or gas water heater. A gas heater is an option if your home already has a gas line, otherwise installation of a gas line can add thousands to the cost. There are several benefits to going with a gas model as well as a few drawbacks to consider.
Gas water heaters are usually twice as fast at heating water as electric models. While an electric heater may take an hour to heat 25 gallons of water, a gas model can heat an entire 50-gallon tank within an hour. This means you’re less likely to run out of hot water. For larger families, a gas heater is usually the better option because electric water heaters may have trouble keeping up with high demands for hot water.
Potentially Lower Energy Costs
Electric heaters are more energy efficient as gas storage units suffer heat loss from the walls of the tank and exhaust gasses. Still, electricity costs more than natural gas in Katy, Texas. This makes gas heaters more affordable to operate in terms of energy costs. For example, a conventional gas water heater with a 0.60 efficiency rating will have a total energy cost of $5,394 over 13 years at today’s average prices. An electric water heater with a higher 0.90 efficiency rating will cost $6,769 over the same time period.
May Work During a Blackout
Gas water heaters that ignite with a pilot light instead of an electric ignition will work even if the power goes out. Texas homeowners are no strangers to power outages; the ability to have hot water even when the power goes out can be a big advantage. Most modern gas water heaters use electric ignitions, although it is still possible to find models with pilot lights.
Higher Upfront Cost
While your energy bills will likely be lower with a gas water heater, gas models cost more upfront and they’re more costly in terms of maintenance and installation. Despite the higher upfront cost, most gas water heaters make up for this price difference within a year.
Slightly Shorter Lifespan
Gas water heaters have a slightly shorter lifespan compared to electric water heaters. If you install a gas and electric unit at the same time, the electric model will be expected to survive slightly longer. The average lifespan for a gas water heater is about 13 years compared with 13-14 years for an electric unit.
More Difficult Installation
Gas water heaters require a more complex installation that includes a ventilation system. If the home has never had a gas water heater, PVC pipes will need to be installed to vent through the roof. This ventilation system will also require occasional maintenance or repairs that may be done when the water heater is replaced.
Choosing the right water heater for your needs is important. After all, about 25% of your home’s energy costs going toward heating water. Gas water heaters offer several benefits and homeowners tend to prefer the lower cost and faster heating that gas heaters offer. Remember that the operating cost is not the only factor when choosing a water heater. It’s also important to consider upfront costs, maintenance requirements, and capacity.