As you determine what type of hot water heater to put in your home, you should be aware of the total costs of buying and operating all types of heaters.
With some types, we spend a whopping 25% of our energy bills on simply heating water in our homes. That makes this decision more crucial than ever.
As you compare hot water heaters, you need to consider several factors, including start-up costs, safety, energy-efficiency and ongoing energy costs.
For general information on such water heater costs, for all types of water heaters, please read this page first.
Here we will talk about the specific costs of gas water heaters.
Startup and Running Costs
Here are some facts about the cost of a gas water heater in your home:
- Gas hot water heaters cost more to buy and to install. They are more complicated devices than electric water heaters, and they require more steps as they are installed because venting and additional lines are necessary.
- Despite higher start-up costs, gas heaters are much more cost-effective once they are running. Gas is still cheaper than electricity, and studies have shown that gas water heaters cost 1/3 as much as electric water heaters to produce hot water on a regular basis.
- Gas heaters are not quite as energy-efficient as elecric heaters; they allow up to 50% of heat to escape as the water is heated and passes to your tap.
- Gas water heaters present a particular set of possible challenges to any homeowner.
The pilot light must remain on, leaks need to be monitored and prevented, and several safety measures need to be taken when around a gas heater (no combustible matter near the flame, etc.).
Some of these challenges bring additional costs.
Payback Time of Gas Water Heaters
If you plan on being in your home for a while, and you can easily handle the installation of a gas water heater (proper lines, venting, etc.), then you should seriously consider the purchase of a gas water heater. Do a careful comparison on initial costs for gas heaters and electric heaters, and see if you can gain back the difference over a few years time.
Many websites will assist you in making such calculations, just be sure not to go to one that is sponsored by a natural gas company!
Our favorite website for calculating water heater cost is this one, it’s a trustworthy government site that is not too complicated.
(please note that maintenance and installation costs are not included in the tool and “the comparison assumes a storage tank water heater as the input type. To allow demand (tankless) water heaters as the comparison type, users can specify an input EF of up to 0.85; however, 0.66 is currently the best available EF for storage water heaters.”!).
The simplest way to summarize gas water heater costs is: higher than other alternatives on Day One, lower in cost from Day Two onward.