First off – you must know that most gas water heaters DO USE electricity for ignition and some for computerized controls (usually found on tankless units).

When comparing the two types of water heaters, gas vs. electric – the decision as to which type is better usually comes down to cost.

And when it comes to cost, the general rule is that gas water heaters will cost less in the long run. It’s true that they may cost a bit more to install but because they cost less to run – in time you will save money using a gas powered water heater.

How long it takes to recover the cost of installation depends on a two factors…

  • How much you use the water heater
  • The cost of gas in your area

How Can You Tell If The Water Heater Is Gas or Electric?

Most experienced home owners know the difference between a gas water heater and an electric one but if you’re a new homeowner or have never had to deal with a water heater issue – then it can be confusing.

Here are 2 easy ways that you can tell the difference between the two.

  • If you see an exhaust pipe from your water heater to the attic or exterior wall – it’s a gas unit
  • If you see a pilot light (a small flame that is always burning) – it’s a gas unit

Of course, if you’re not sure what you have or perhaps your unit is in a spot that prevents you from getting close enough to check it, we recommend you call in a professional plumber to “check it out” and give it a good maintenance check. Especially if you’ve just moved in to a new home.

Cost of Gas Water Heater vs. Electric Water Heater

As we said earlier in this article, generally, gas water heaters are cheaper to run but cost more to purchase and install.

Per the U.S. Department of Energy, “…the average household spends $400-$600 a year on water heating – accounting for 14-18 percent of homeowners’ utility bills.”

So any monthly savings that you can muster on heating your water will work in your favor.

Cost of Electric Water Heaters

A quick look at Residential Electric Water Heaters at Lowes shows that prices range from $153.43 to $1635.00.

Of course, that includes all different sizes, capacities, brands and wattages. But it does give you an idea of how cost efficient the electric water heaters are to purchase.

Cost of Gas Water Heaters

A quick look at Residential Gas Water Heaters at Lowes shows that prices range from $425.84 to $1999.00.

Again, this is comparing all the different sizes, wattages and brands of gas water heaters available from Lowes. The prices, as you can see are higher than the electric models but the difference is not so high. So, most households would be able to recoup that money within a few months to a year.

What Is The Most Energy Efficient Hot Water Heater?

All reports indicate that tankless water heaters are the most efficient overall. The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that tankless units can be 24% – 34% more energy efficient in homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily. Tankless units run at 90% – 98% efficiency.

Read more on The Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters.

Water Heater Buying Guide

Consumer Reports created a Water Heater Buying Guide and posted it online on their website.

It covers different capacities, brands, types and the features to consider when looking at water heaters for your home.

If you live in the Atlanta, Georgia area and have any questions or are having problems with your water heater, contact the professional plumbers at Atlantis Plumbing. You can call us 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at 770-505-8570.