Water Heater Decisions: Gas Or Electric?

Electric and gas water heaters are two common types of water heaters used in residential settings. Read below for a comparison of electric and gas water heaters based on several factors.


In terms of upfront cost, electric water heaters are generally less expensive to purchase and install compared to gas water heaters. However, the operating cost can be higher for electric heaters due to the typically higher cost of electricity compared to natural gas.

Energy efficiency

Gas water heaters may be more energy-efficient than electric water heaters for several reasons. Gas heaters heat water faster and have a quicker recovery time, meaning they can provide a continuous supply of hot water for longer periods. Electric heaters may have a slower recovery time, especially when heating large volumes of water, leading to potential energy wastage.

Fuel availability

The choice between electric and gas water heaters may depend on the availability of utilities in your area. If natural gas lines are readily available, a gas water heater can be a convenient and cost-effective option. However, if gas lines are not accessible, electric water heaters provide a viable alternative since electricity is widely available.

Installation requirements

Gas water heaters require proper venting for exhaust gases, which adds complexity to the installation process. Electric water heaters do not have exhaust gases and do not require venting, making them easier to install. Additionally, electric heaters can be installed in a wider range of locations, including small spaces or areas without access to exterior ventilation.

Safety considerations

Gas water heaters involve combustion, which requires proper ventilation and safety measures to prevent carbon monoxide leaks. Electric water heaters do not have combustion processes, making them potentially safer from a carbon monoxide standpoint. However, both types of heaters have their own safety considerations, such as proper electrical connections for electric heaters and gas line integrity for gas heaters.

Maintenance and lifespan

Generally, both electric and gas water heaters require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. However, gas water heaters may need more frequent maintenance due to the combustion process. The lifespan of water heaters varies, but with proper maintenance, both types can last many years.

Environmental impact

Gas water heaters produce greenhouse gas emissions during the combustion process, while electric water heaters do not have direct emissions. However, the environmental impact of electric water heaters depends on the source of electricity generation in your area.

Consult with a professional plumber who can assess your specific needs and guide you in selecting the most suitable option for your home. Contact a plumbing company in your area to get started.