Do you need a new water heater and cannot decide between a gas and electric variety?
While both types are well-known among homeowners, depending on your needs, budget, and preferences, one might be better suited to your specific requirements.
This article will take you through everything you need to know about tankless water heaters! So keep reading to find out which would be the best choice for you.
Table of Contents
- Is a Gas or Electric Tankless Water Heater More Efficient?
- Pros and Cons of Gas Tankless Water Heaters
- Pros and Cons of Electric Tankless Water Heater
- Gas vs. Electric: Which Tankless Water Heater Is Better?
Is a Gas or Electric Tankless Water Heater More Efficient?
Electric tankless water heaters are more efficient than their gas counterparts by about 10-15%. However, they also require a hefty initial investment, so gas tankless water heaters are better for those on a budget.
However, efficiency isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing a new tankless water heater. Therefore, the following sections will guide you through the pros and cons of each alternative to help you make a well-informed decision.
Let’s get started!
Comparison Table: Gas vs. Electric Tankless Water Heater
|Features||Gas Tankless Water Heater||Electric Tankless Water Heater|
|Value for Money||More cost-efficient||Less cost-efficient|
|Product Cost||Expensive ($1,000 – $2,000)||Affordable ($500 – $800)|
|Cost of Installation||$170 – $2000||$360 – $2500|
|Capacity of Flow Rate||10 GPM – 20 GPM||Up To 10 GPM|
|Maintenance Standards||High Maintenance||Moderate to Low Maintenance|
|Environmental Impact||Impactful||Not too Impactful|
Pros and Cons of Gas Tankless Water Heaters
|Low operation costs||It is often unsafe|
|Can heat water quickly||Expensive initial investment|
|Can operate during power outages, unlike electric water heaters||Sizes are small and are limited in range|
|Can last for around 20 years in service||Mandatory annual inspection|
|Water can be a bit muddy|
Pros and Cons of Electric Tankless Water Heater
|Clean operation and clear water output||Significant operational costs|
|Not as expensive as gas tankless water heaters||Heats water slower than gas tanks|
|Comes in a wide range of sizes for all houses||Does not work under power outage|
|Efficient water heating features|
|Do not need ventilation|
Gas vs. Electric: Which Tankless Water Heater Is Better?
In terms of performance, electric is better, while gas tankless water heaters lead in savings. Hence, both have their perks.
So, keeping this in mind, let’s check out the features of gas and electric tankless water heaters to figure out which is the most efficient for most homeowners.
Ease and Cost of Installation
Since electricity is present in all homes, electric tankless water heaters are easy to install. Moreover, many homes already have 240V connections pre-installed for water heaters, making them ready for the appliance. However, the cost of installation can be a bit steep.
Since not all current properties have a gas system, you must get municipal gas and make gas connections. Your plumber must also install proper vents to disperse the excess gas and reduce high-temperature risks.
These protocols are mandatory since the gas is corrosive and appropriate measures will help you. All in all, gas tankless water heaters are a bit cheaper to install.
Of course, remember that you will need inspection and installation permits to install both heaters. So check out all the installation legalities before calling your technician or plumber for your lines.
A gas heater costs less than its electric counterpart, making it an affordable choice.
For example, a gas tankless water heater will cost you between $170 and $2,000. On the other hand, the electric version will be around $360-$2500.
However, gas water heaters also come with expensive installation requirements, adding more to the expenses. Nevertheless, the price might still be affordable to many, especially if they have gas in their homes.
However, it will be an unnecessary purchase if your home has electrical lines that can easily support an electric tankless water heater. So if you wish to save money on your water heater purchase, the electric version might be better in the long run.
The cost of using electricity is lower than gas. Therefore, an electric tankless water heater will be more affordable to operate than its gas counterpart.
Of course, this varies depending on your residential location and many other aspects. So before you purchase a water heater, ensure that you know the energy costs within your area.
Two factors help determine a water heater’s operating cost:
- Price of fuel
- Utilization of fuel
If your area’s cost of gas is affordable, but its utilization is not very efficient, it will be an unnecessary long-term investment. The same goes for electrical wiring and your location.
So always check on how efficient fuel flow is in your area, notwithstanding its expenses. It will help you choose better home heating equipment.
The Price of Fuel
In most places around the US, gas prices are lower than electrical prices, making it a convenient choice for many homes. As mentioned, these numbers vary according to locations and other factors.
For example, in some areas, the operating cost for electric tankless water heaters is $42 per month. In others, gas prices are lower, allowing gas models to operate at $30 per month on average.
However, due to supply issues, gas prices are volatile. So if you opt for a gas water heater model upon seeing cheaper gas prices, and they rise post-installation, it will be a bad investment.
On the other hand, electric prices remain constant and pose little fluctuation risk. As a result, electric powering a water heater is a safe option in many places.
The size of a water heater model is crucial, especially when installing it in your home. If you have a small space, you need a compact heater that does not take up a large area.
Both gas and electric models come in various sizes.
However, gas water heaters are generally smaller and do not take up too much space, which makes them a good purchase for houses with limited room.
On the other hand, electrical models are available in various sizes depending on your home. So if you have a smaller place, you can opt for a more modest-sized electric model.
Moreover, the number of people residing in a home is also essential. Opting for a small gas tankless water heater for a large house with multiple family members will cause some trouble—there likely will not be enough water for all.
So while smaller gas models are great for smaller homes, they might not be ideal for larger families.
The Volume of Water Used
The largest volume of water is always used in the morning since your entire family freshens up for school, work, and their day.
Since everyone is in a hurry, you will need a large volume of heated water to be ready. In this case, an electric water heater will produce eight gallons of water per minute.
On the other hand, a tankless gas model will heat more water per minute and be more in sync with the hurried frenzy of the household.
However, keep in mind that your tankless water heater’s size plays a crucial role in indicating how much volume of hot water it provides.
As mentioned, sizable water heaters are the most efficient for large houses with many family members. These heaters not only warm up the water but also store it for more people to use.
A smaller tank is ideal for a smaller home, only if two to three family members use it. Otherwise, it might produce an insufficient volume of hot water.
The Heating Rate of Both Heaters
A heater’s heating rate determines how quickly it can recover for re-use. Generally speaking, a gas tankless water heater can heat up faster and recover faster than its electric counterpart. And the reason for this is the direction of the heating process.
A gas tankless water heater’s burner is on the bottom of the appliance, helping the water heat up faster for usage. Moreover, the open flame heats up the water more quickly, allowing it to stay warm for longer. It also recovers faster due to quick heat distribution and is ready for its subsequent use.
On the other hand, an electric heater’s heating rod is located on the top, traveling downward to the bottom. These rods heat up slower than a gas unit and spread the heat according to the tank’s height. So, your water will be only lukewarm by the time a gas heater would have heated it properly.
If you own an electric tankless water heater, you must clean the inlet screen filter often to ensure the system runs correctly. However, an electric heater does not require frequent check-ups and inspections.
Moreover, if you’re well-versed in maintaining and fixing appliances around your house, you can do it alone without any technician’s help.
On the other hand, gas tankless water heaters need the frequent maintenance of a trained technician. Therefore, you must conduct timely and regular maintenance checks and call professionals to take care of it. Ensure that the technician is licensed and has experience fixing heaters’ volatile problems.
The reason for routine maintenance is that the gas used in heaters is explosive and corrosive. While it heats up quickly and is ideal for smaller houses, gas water heaters can be dangerous if left without proper care.
These appliances need regular flushing and clean-up for smooth operation. Flushing helps clean up the limescale build-up deposited inside the heaters.
Due to an efficient, simple, and compact design, electric tankless water heaters can function seamlessly for up to 20 years. They do not pose too much trouble, and most are easily fixable even by the owner. Moreover, even the most challenging issues are easy to diagnose, and a professional can repair them in no time.
Gas tankless water heaters, similar to electric, can last up to 20 years but need frequent and vigorous check-ups to ensure this service life. These units come with more components than electric heaters and need cleaning, flushing, scrubbing, and more from time to time.
If you do not call a service member to check your gas tankless water heaters on time, you might accidentally reduce the longevity of these appliances and deteriorate their structure.
An electric tankless water heater comes with around five years of warranty. As the owner, you will also receive a one-year labor warranty. On the other hand, gas models come with a 10-year warranty on the heat exchanger.
While opting for a heavy-duty appliance, it is essential to check its impact on the environment, especially with the rapid rise in global warming and waste deposits. Gas tankless water heaters emit greenhouse gasses that are terrible for our environment, especially when released in excess.
As a non-renewable fossil fuel, gas is currently depleting at an alarming rate. Fortunately, gas heaters are energy-efficient and ensure the most environment-friendly service possible. These appliances reach mid-80% energy efficiency.
On the flip side, electric tankless water heaters can have both a good and a harmful impact on the environment. It all depends on the type of electric heater you’re using.
If your heater uses solar energy, it is highly energy-efficient and does not harm the earth. However, if it uses coal-supplied electricity, it might endanger your local nature reserves.
Therefore, as a precaution, you must learn your local electricity source before adding another appliance to use at home.
All in all, gas and electric tankless water heaters are both highly efficient. However, after going through the factors above, it seems that electric models take the lead in efficiency compared to their gas counterparts.
But, it’s crucial to remember that when it comes to size, utility, and warranty duration, gas heaters seem to have their perks.
So depending on your location, power source, and budget, any tankless water heater can offer you excellent service at a reasonable price point.
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