Tankless Water Heater – Electric vs Gas – Comparative Analysis

Tankless water heaters are a smart choice for indoor water heating because these are trendy, compact, easy to maintain and reasonably priced. Tankless heaters represent a far more feasible option for home owners in comparison to tank-based system because of their energy efficiency and good long-term performance. The most important aspect is that tankless heaters ensure unlimited hot water supply throughout the day. However, the choice becomes difficult when you need to choose between electric and gas tankless water heaters because both are equally good. In this article we will provide a comparative analysis so that you could understand the key differences between both kinds.

An electric tankless water heater solely relies on electricity for heating water whereas a gas tankless water heater requires natural gas. However, it is not as simple as it seems because you need to realize a few more facts about both type of heaters before making the choice. First and foremost is the aspect of being environment friendly. If you are concerned about the environment then installing an electric one will be most suitable because it doesn’t involve greenhouse gas emissions and nowadays all sorts of alternative energy sources are available in electric water heaters such as solar, wind and wave powered appliances. In case of gas heaters the risks are various such as greenhouse gas emissions are relatively higher and it also increases our reliance on fossil fuels.

Energy consumption is a key aspect that considerably differentiates the two kinds of tankless water heaters. Energy efficiency is higher in gas water heater than in electric ones because a gas heater uses natural gas for heating water. This means less energy is consumed and lower electricity bills will be received. Although other options such as solar and wave are available in electrical water heaters but these will take time to become popular and widespread. As of now only conventional electric heaters are commonly available worldwide. In most cases electric water heater uses more energy because these are usually high power appliances and since these are required to heat water within minutes therefore, the energy consumption will be higher. Moreover, you need to first check the compatibility of your chosen electric water heater and the electric power available at your place before making the decision. So if saving energy costs is upon your agenda then you need to prefer gas water heater over electric one.

Another factor to be mentioned is that uninterrupted gas supply ensures that you will be receiving hot water whenever you want and not to forget that gas heats water quicker than electricity. Gas heater ensures that evenly heated water is supplied and you never have to bear the brunt of sudden blasts of cold water while bathing. This is one of the main issues people complain about electric heaters that these tend to heat water in batches and not only you have to wait for it but also it heats water in limited quantity, which means while bathing you may receive some amount of cold water in between.

Maintenance is a key differentiating factor as well since gas water heaters need to be inspected regularly. The probability of gas leakage cannot be overlooked and therefore, owners need to be careful and if possible monthly or at least annual inspection should be ensured to avoid any mishaps. On the other hand, an electric water heater doesn’t need to be inspected at all and tend to operate just fine even if used frequently.

The decision must be made after evaluating your family size or number of people within the household because regardless of their sizes gas water heaters have larger capacity than electric ones. Therefore, if you need to use the heater regularly for a large family then a gas heater will be more suitable because it will heat and store large quantity of water (up to 10 gallons or more) and therefore will satisfy higher demand. On the contrary, electric water heaters are smaller in water storing capacity and will provide no more than four to eight gallons of hot water at a time. This may suit a smaller family but for larger ones it will prove to be inappropriate as the demand will be more and supply will be less.

The purchase price should also be considered if you are running on a budget. This will involve not only installation price but the product’s price as well as its operating costs. On average, electric tankless water heaters are cheaper than gas water heaters. A standard size whole house electric water heater from a reputable brand costs between $500- $700 max whereas the same size gas water heater price range is $100 to $1200 max.

Installation costs differ greatly in both gas and electric water heaters and are affected by the type and size of water heater as well as the equipment required and location of installation. A gas water heater installation will be expensive than electric one because of the additional venting requirement that it entails. Ensuring seamless fresh air supply and confirming appropriate gas line size are some of the key concerns while installing a gas heater and these issues increase the cost. However, electric water heaters are easier to install and much cheaper as well since you only have to consider compatible electrical service and wiring cost nothing else will be required neither venting nor piping.

Electric water heaters can be installed just about anywhere around the house and these tend to be more feasible in this regard whereas for installing a gas water heater you will have to select an area where proper ventilation and fuel combustion space along with exhaust system is available and the gas line needs to be inserted as well. This makes gas water heater installation complicated.

There may not be any such appliance which doesn’t involve a range of pros and cons and same is the case with tankless water heaters. Both gas and electric choices have pluses and minuses and therefore none can be termed as the better or more suitable one. The decision should be taken after considering all the above mentioned points so that a wise choice is made in the end.