Gas vs Electric Water Heaters


There has been much discussion over the merits of gas versus electric water heaters, with proponents on both sides fiercely defending their choice. Of course, if you are moving into a home, your choice might already be made for you, but if you feel strongly enough about one of these choices, you can alter your home’s structure if necessary to accommodate your choice.

In most cases, however, it’s those who are building a home that must decide if they want to go gas or electric.

Gas Arguments

Here are the common arguments that lovers of gas (and/or propane) water heaters make to prove this version’s superiority to electric heaters:

  • Gas is far cheaper than electricity. Some users of gas water heaters report that they barely see an uptick in their monthly gas bills, even with regular usage of the hot water heater. Remember the number 3. That is the how less expensive gas heaters are than electric—they heat water for 1/3 the cost of electric heaters. Do any other arguments for gas heaters need to be made?
  • Gas heats hot water more quickly and gives you steamy comfort more rapidly than electric heaters do. They also “recover” more quickly when heating water. You are much less likely to have a long wait for more hot water when you have a gas heater.
  • Gas heaters continue to work during power outages, and isn’t that when you really need hot water? If you live in an area with frequent storms that cut the electricity for hours or days, then gas would seem to be the correct choice.
  • For families, gas heaters will always make more sense. They come in larger tank sizes and heat water more economically. The more a heater is used, the more the savings multiply. Gas heaters are more economical and practical for most homes.

Electric Arguments

Proponents of electric heaters counter with these arguments:


  • Gas is more dangerous than electric, and pilot lights can be extremely finicky. Re-lighting them can be dangerous, frustrating and difficult to do, no matter what the instructions say. Going electric eliminates the fear of a gas explosion while you light match after match in an attempt to get your pilot light on. Some homeowners never get over the fear of gas and have to call repairmen simply to re-light the pilot light.
  • Electric heaters can be installed just about anywhere, as opposed to gas heaters. This can help you to create space in areas where you want it, such as your basement, and hide your hot water heater where you would not be using the space anyway. Gas heaters cannot be placed in living areas, bathrooms or bedrooms.
  • Electric heaters are easier to service, particularly if the thermostat goes bad. They are simpler for DIY-ers to check and repair.
  • Electric heaters have made great leaps in technology in recent years, greatly diminishing the cost difference between gas and electric heaters.
  • Electric heaters usually make a lot less noise than gas heaters as well.