Is a Gas or Electric Water Heater Best for Your Home?
When it comes to water heaters, there are more options than you may think.
You can choose from tank or tankless models, various sizes, efficiencies in heating water, and of course, different energy types. One of the main decisions to make when choosing a water heater for your home is whether to use gas or electricity for energy, but there are several factors that contribute to making this choice.
Types and Efficiency of Tank Water Heaters
Despite their size, tank water heaters are still the most popular option. While tankless versions have their benefits, tank water heaters can offer access to more hot water for large homes or families and are usually less expensive to buy. Tank models come in standard and high-efficiency options, both available in gas and electric.
- Standard tank water heaters are the least expensive water heaters to buy, ranging from 20 to 80-gallon tanks and various levels of efficiency for first-hour heating. Gas models are slightly more expensive to buy but make up the difference in energy efficiency.
- High-Efficiency tank water heaters. High-efficiency, HE, water heaters are usually Energy Star certified and can outperform standard tank water heaters. However, most of these are gas, unless you choose an electric heat pump or hybrid model.
When it comes to shopping for an efficient storage tank water heater, there are more gas model options available. Gas water heaters make up about 60% of the water heaters in homes. In standard tank models, gas versions will save you money on your energy bills. With HE tanks, gas is still a good choice, but if you live in the right climate, a heat pump electric model can save about 65% on energy over standard electric water heaters.
Heat pump electric water heaters are the most efficient option for tank electric models. However, they do have a few drawbacks. They need more space and require the right climate—usually a mild climate with temperatures ranging between 40-90 degrees (which makes them perfect for Arizona). However, if you prefer to use electricity or it is the only energy source in your home, these can save up to $3,000 in energy costs over the lifespan.
Whether you choose electric or gas water heater for the tank model, both the energy factor (EF) and first-hour rating (FHR) are important in both efficiency and function. The higher the number in both gives you more efficiency or more gallons of hot water per hour. The FHR can be more important than the size of the tank. For example, an 80-gallon tank that only gives you a 20-30-gallon FHR may not be enough hot water to get through busy shower times. It is better to have a higher FHR than a large tank size, but large homes may need both.
Tankless Water Heater Options
Tankless or on-demand water heaters give you the option to ditch the storage tank and heat your home’s water as needed. Compared to heating water around the clock in a storage tank, heating on-demand is more efficient. Both electric and gas tankless models will save you in energy costs for heating water in your home. Plus, they tend to have longer lifespans, use much less space, and there is not a concern about leaks from a large storage tank of water.
However, with the benefits come some drawbacks. Tankless water heaters are more expensive to buy and may not be the best option for large families. The on-demand feature is efficient, but when two, three, or more areas in the home need hot water at the same time, tankless models can have difficulty keeping up with use. Those who want to go tankless with larger homes or families may need to invest in more than one tankless model to handle the higher use times.
With tankless water heaters, gas-fired heaters offer a fast flow rate, but lose efficiency over electric due to the constant pilot light. You may be able to get more hot water at once with gas, but you will not get the energy savings you will with electric.
Still Confused on Which is Better for Your Home?
If you have gas available for energy use and are inclined to buy a tank water heater, this may be the best option. Gas tank models come in high-efficiency and Energy Star options, plus have the advantage of supplying hot water even if the power goes out. However, electric may be best if you want to go tankless or have the option to use a heat pump model.
To learn more about the options and prices available on new water heaters for your home, contact us at Mason Mechanical. We offer professional installation of gas, electric, and hybrid water heaters. Call for a quote to learn more about your options and find the best water heater for your home in the Mesa area.