Most people don’t consider purchasing a new hot water system when moving to a new house, but if you need one, we have the information here to help you get the right one for your needs.
That’s because essential appliances like water heaters come pre-installed to reduce troubles for new owners. However, as the maximum lifespan of a heater is ten to thirteen years, you may need to get a new unit to replace the old one at your home.
One of the first hurdles of picking a water heater is choosing between gas and electric models. Previously, people often used to go for the lower priced item, but we would suggest you against taking the same route. Instead, learning about both variants’ aspects is better before deciding.
Worry not, as we have come to your rescue with a guide to help you understand the difference between gas and electric hot water heaters. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Critical Differences Between Gas and Electric Hot Water Heaters
Before we begin with the differences, let us tell you that both variants would have negative and positive aspects. Moreover, at times, you may need to choose an appliance based on the rules set by the building owners. That’s why we recommend learning more about your home or apartment and the area laws before finalising the purchase of a hot water heater.
Now, let’s check out what makes the two variants of heaters different from our gas vs electric hot water guide!
1. Energy Source And Energy Efficiency
The most obvious difference between the two heater types is the energy source. Gas hot water heaters need to be filled with natural gas, propane or butane to get a hot water cylinder. It’s also the most common type of water heater found in homes due to its easy availability.
On the other hand, an electric hot water heater is connected to your home’s power source, so there’s no need to worry about refuelling. More and more people are gravitating towards electric heaters as they are thought to be more energy efficient. There’s little to no energy loss as, unlike in a gas hot water heater, no venting of spent gas is necessary.
Some people still prefer to install gas-based hot water systems as natural gas may have a lower price than electricity in some areas. If you have a similar concern, compare the price of gas and electricity for your area before installing a specific water system.
We want to point out that checking the energy efficiency of a gas heater prior to purchase can help you make cost-saving decisions. Go for energy-efficient hot water systems with an energy star label designed to use less fuel when in doubt. They are also considered more robust than standard models but may incur significant installation costs.
2. Size And Capacity
When thinking about water heaters, most of us imagine the large gas hot water systems taking up quite a bit of space. Even though the size of water heaters has reduced considerably, the gas-powered models still require plenty of room to set up. Moreover, the additional fixtures and a connection to the vent mean you can only set them up in areas like the basement or garage.
Look at the image below to help decide your home’s water usage based on how many people will use the hot water unit.
In comparison, an electric system tends to be more compact and can be installed in a convenient area of your home. So, an electric water unit might be a better choice if you have limited space in your home. You can even opt for an instantaneous electric unit as they come without a storage tank. They are also great for limiting high greenhouse gas emissions.
Both an electric water heater and gas continuous system are available with around 90-450 litres of storage when it comes to capacity. However, we have seen that conventional gas hot water systems often have larger tank capacities than their electric counterparts. Besides, some people believe that rather than just checking the capacity or tank size, we should focus on the recovery time of a water heater.
The recovery time is the time the system takes to reheat the stored water once it has cooled; this uses the heat pump built into all hot water systems. Gas storage systems have faster recovery rates, so you may want to choose one if you have an enormous household.
And if instant hot water is what you’re looking for, think about installing a point-of-use water heater that will be attached to your kitchen faucet. Besides being energy efficient, they are relatively easy to install and don’t demand any changes to the existing plumbing system. Instantaneous hot water systems are a popular addition for coffee lovers and businesses, providing a continuous flow of hot water.
3. Installation And Maintenance
One point that people often overlook while installing a hot water system is its installation. If your home has a pre-existing system, you’ll need to contact a plumbing service provider to take it down and install a new unit. In most cases, installing a gas hot water heater costs a bit more as it needs to be connected with a gas line.
Another thing to know is that you may need to pay more to install a gas hot water heater instead of an electric hot water system. A plumber must extend the gas line and create a vent to install a gas water heater.
Even though gas lines connect most houses, there might be some exceptions. In such situations, your plumber must seek additional permission from local authorities before installing the gas water heater. Hence, it will invariably end up taking more time and money.
Along with installation, it’s just as important to consider the necessity of maintenance for a system. The good thing is that electric and gas heaters are pretty easy to maintain.
We suggest finding a trustworthy plumbing service provider near your home who can take care of occasional maintenance. A hot water service usually includes fixing hot water leaks, tank clean-up, gas pipe inspection, fixing pipes, and other general plumbing needs.
Overall, we found maintenance costs similar for both heater types, but more frequent services might be required for gas-powered units. If you’re considering a gas hot water system, inspect the gas lines by a certified plumber to prevent gas leaks.
4. Overall Cost Differences
We have already mentioned that the cost shouldn’t be your only concern while considering a new hot water heater. Nevertheless, as it’s still an important aspect, you should compare the two systems based on your budget. The cost of a hot water system is usually divided into the upfront cost and the lower running costs.
When comparing the upfront costs, we found the gas water heaters to cost considerably more, especially when the installation charges are included. However, while calculating the overall running costs, having a gas water heater was cheaper. That’s mainly because of the lower price of gas compared to electricity, leading to a reduced running cost.
Nevertheless, consider that the final cost may differ drastically based on the size of a heater, frequency of use, maintenance charges, and expenses for upgrading plumbing. We also found that gas heaters may have a slightly lower lifespan, so you may need to change them sooner.
Before discussing safety, we would like to point out that it’s important to purchase water heaters produced by a reputable brand. You should also ensure that the company has proper licensing and that the appliances are certified in Australia.
Usually, electric water heaters are safer than gas systems as there’s no threat of gas leaks. Plus, there’s the threat of carbon monoxide leaks in the case of gas units, so proper ventilation is indispensable in homes with gas water heaters.
You may have to settle for electric hot water systems when choosing one for apartments or small homes. Similarly, based on how much hot water is required daily, you may consider installing tankless water heaters that take up little to no space.
Proper maintenance, regular cleaning of vents, and gas checks ensure healthy gas-powered systems with no safety threat. Always have the number of a local emergency plumbing provider on your speed dial to deal with such issues, and be regular with servicing your gas heater systems.
6. Environmental Concerns
We understand that many of you are concerned about the environmental implications of using electric or gas hot water heater systems. Yes, a gas system will invariably lead to the emission of greenhouse gases as they are powered by natural gas or propane. Even though modern electric systems don’t directly use gas, they may impact nature based on where the electricity comes from in your area.
Among the two options, electric models are the more eco-friendly choice. However, you may go one further step and check out solar hot water systems that are best energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Solar hot water systems are another great way to lower your energy usage for homes with solar panels installed. A solar hot water system can lower ongoing running costs by saving energy when extracting heat. Typically installed outdoors like other systems, a solar heater improves water efficiency. With the rising cost of power, solar could be a cost-effective solution for your home or business.
Our Conclusion: Electric or Gas Hot Water?
That’s everything we had to tell you about the differences between gas and electric hot water systems. We hope the mentioned points will help you decide based on your needs.
If you feel confused about choosing a new hot water system, don’t forget to consult a professional, licensed plumber. They will help you find the right-sized water heater for your space and save money where needed.
Furthermore, it’s recommended to seek help from a certified plumber to uninstall and install water heaters. Assistance from a reputed plumbing service provider guarantees better satisfaction and may lower upfront costs.
Until next time, goodbye, and take care!