The amount of energy you use heating up the water in your home could account for more than 12% of your home’s total energy use. While there are many factors that affect how much energy your water heater uses, one of the most important factors is the type of water heater. By using an electric water heater, you can save on your energy bills. But is an electric heater right for you? Learn more about the pros and cons, and call a plumber in Chicago if you need more advice.
Why You Should Use an Electric Water Heater
When you decide to switch to an electric water heater, you reap many benefits. It’s impossible to list all of the advantages of going electric, but here are a few of them:
Lower Up-Front Costs
If you go shopping for a water heater, you will come across several types of water heaters. Out of all the models, the electric water heater is one of the most affordable. The cost depends on the size of the model, but you can expect lower up-front costs with electric heaters.
If you opt for a tankless water heater, you will have higher costs than a traditional tank heater. However, an electric model will still cost less than a gas one. The cost of installation varies significantly, and the primary reason for the high cost of gas heaters.
Gas heaters cost more than electric heaters because of the piping. For a brand new gas heater, you need to have the proper ventilation and exhaust system. But electric systems don’t need gas pipes, nor do they need exhaust. This simplifies the installation process.
Generally speaking, electric water heaters are much more efficient than gas heaters. The energy usage varies by model, but you can usually count on electric models to be the most efficient. You can look at the EF rating to determine just how efficient the heater is. When a heater has a high EF, it is very energy efficient.
Most gas water heaters have EF values between .5 and .7, but electric heaters tend to be .9 or higher. What causes this significant difference in efficiency? When gas water heaters vent, energy is lost. The venting doesn’t occur in electric heaters, so the energy is saved.
No matter which type of water heater you get, you can be sure that it’s safe. When you work with a reputable professional, they perform the installation in a way that keeps you protected. Nevertheless, gas heaters are slightly more dangerous than electric ones because they use gas as a fuel source.
All gas appliances come with the hazard of a gas leak. If there’s a leak in the line, you and your family could be in danger. Although maintenance and inspections can prevent gas leaks and catch them early on, you should still be aware of the risks. Electric water heaters come with other dangers, but there’s no chance of a gas leak.
Almost every home has a connection to the electric grid, which means almost every home can have an electric heater. Natural gas isn’t as widely available, so it may not even be an option for you. If you don’t have a connection to a gas line or a propane supply, you can’t have a gas water heater.
Could you install a gas line? Yes, but that comes at a high cost. Unless you’re replacing an existing gas heater with a new one, your best option could be to go electric.
The Drawbacks of Electric Heaters
Despite the many benefits of electric heaters, there are some disadvantages to having one. Here are a few reasons you may not want an electric heater:
Longer Heating and Recovery Time
If you use an electric heater, it could take longer for your water to heat up. When you use up all your hot water, it will take a while for the unit to heat up the remaining water. A gas heater uses combustion, and this heats up your water quickly.
People living in large households may prefer a gas water heater. However, the best way to prevent running out of water is to install a water heater of an appropriate size. You could also opt for a tankless heater, which allows you to heat up water as you need it.
No Hot Water with Power Outages
When your power goes out, life is hard enough. Having an electric water heater makes life even more difficult because you lose your hot water. If there’s a storm or a blackout, you could have no hot water for days.
A gas water heater might work in a power outage, but it depends on the type of gas heater you have. In newer gas models, the ignition is electrical and won’t work during a power outage. But an older model may use a pilot light and doesn’t need electricity to ignite.
While it’s true that electric heaters are more efficient than their gas counterparts, electric heaters still cost more. The cost of electricity is more than the cost of gas. However, the prices fluctuate, and this may not always be the case.
Before you decide to buy a water heater, you might want to look into the cost of both types of fuel. You should also consider the cost of water heater repair in Chicago. Do you have someone to fix your water heater? Whether it’s electric or gas, the heater could break down. You should have a plumber ready, and you can ask them the estimated cost of a repair.
Ask a Plumber in Chicago Which is Right for You
If you’re still not sure which option is right for you, it’s time to talk to a plumber. They can tell you more about the benefits of electric and gas heaters, and evaluate which option is right for you.
Here at J. Blanton Plumbing, we’re eager to help you. If you need a plumber in Chicago, call us now.