What Is the Difference Between a Gas Fueled and Electric Tankless Water Heater?

What Is the Difference Between a Gas Fueled and Electric Tankless Water Heater?

Buying a new tankless water heater is an important decision. Although the difference between a gas fuelled or electric unit seems obvious, based on the type of fuel used, there are other distinctions in these systems.

If you’re looking to replace an existing, traditional tanked water heater with a tankless water heater, our technicians at 128 Plumbing can help you select the best tankless water heaters for your home, no matter how they’re powered. Our team can also provide installation, service, and maintenance to your system. If you have questions about a gas or electric tankless water heater, call us today for more insight.

Which Tank Is Right for You?

The most common decision homeowners make when replacing water heaters is whether to purchase a tank using the fuel that’s present in the home. If you have a gas water heater right now, it’s less expensive and easier to add a gas-fuelled tankless water heater. If you have an existing electric water heater, replacing it with an electric tankless water heater is the less expensive option.

That doesn’t mean you can’t go from gas to electric. Homeowners who no longer want to pay the high price associated with traditional tank water heaters and want to move to a tankless system do have the option of switching from a traditional gas tank heater to an electric tankless water heater or vice versa.

When considering which tankless water heaters are right for your home here in the Greater Boston area, there are several factors to consider about both an electric or gas system.

Electric and Gas: Fuel Cost

When choosing between a gas or electricity powered water heater, the fuel is of prime consideration. Of the two, gas prices tend to be lower than electricity prices in most areas, although this could change over time.

A key factor to consider is how much fuel it takes to heat water. It takes a greater amount of electricity than gas to create hot water.

Because tankless water heaters are a high-powered appliance, they may also be tough on older residences. Some of the older homes in the Boston area may find a significant increase in the electrical pull from new units, which can be too much for the system to handle. If there is not enough electrical power available through existing systems, upgrades become necessary before a tankless water heater can be installed. Our team at 128 Plumbing can help you with the installation of upgraded electrical systems to meet this need.

Gas or Electric: Consider Initial Price

When investing in tankless water heaters, the initial price is usually of considerable importance to most property owners here in Eastern Massachusetts. Gas tankless water heaters tend to be more expensive outright. It’s possible to spend as much as $1,000 on a gas-powered tankless water heater, depending on the brand and model of the tankless water heaters.

Tankless water heaters that use gas, but are non-condensing systems, can be lower in price compared to other water heaters. The drawback of these systems is that it may be more expensive to install them. Although a condensing tankless water heater may initially be more costly, most don’t require venting. This helps to keep the installation cost of this water heater lower.

By comparison, electric tankless water heaters are more affordable outright. Electric tankless water heaters can cost around $500, depending on the model. Additionally, because electricity is generally already in place, the installation of electric tankless water heaters is very straightforward and less expensive. The installation cost of any system also depends on the condition of the existing water heater.

Gas and Electric Water Heaters: Maintenance Needs

Yearly maintenance is an important factor in keeping your gas and electric water heaters in good condition. At 128 Plumbing, we install gas and electric tankless water heaters and provide full maintenance on all models.

When choosing your gas or electric water heaters, keep in mind that maintenance is a bit different on the two units. Gas tankless water heaters typically require more maintenance than electric tankless water heaters. Gas units are more likely to have a buildup of mineral scale on them. This buildup requires proper cleaning by a licensed tankless water heater technician. Gas fueled systems also require the water inlet screen to be properly cleaned.

Electric tankless water heaters require very little actual maintenance. The inlet screen filter will need cleaning on electric models. Electric tankless water heating doesn’t cause mineral scale buildup within the unit, making it far easier for homeowners to manage the maintenance needs of the water heaters.

Gas or Electric Tankless Water Heaters: Efficiency

Individual models of tankless water heaters determine the actual efficiency of any unit. In a broad comparison, electric water tankless heaters provide greater results with fewer costs, because, in most areas, electricity is more affordable than gas. For property owners who want to improve their home’s energy efficiency, making the switch to electric tankless water heaters will accomplish this, assuming an efficient model is selected.

Electric tankless water heaters are also more environmentally friendly. Electric water heaters operate more efficiently due to less waste of electricity during the heating process, and they also don’t rely on fossil fuels to generate heat

Gas or Electric: Homeowner Comfort

Many people prefer the comfort that gas water heaters bring. These tankless water heaters work quickly to generate hot water. While electric models are swift at producing hot water, many homeowners feel gas is faster, making them more comfortable to use.

Another aspect of comfort comes in the form of safety. Well-selected tankless water heaters from trusted manufacturers are safe to use, regardless of whether they are electric or gas run. Some property owners may find that electric models are less likely to cause fires than gas models. For some homeowners, the use of natural gas or propane in water heaters can be more worrisome, especially if the system isn’t installed properly or maintained well.

Gas or Electric: Life Span and Warranties

As with any whole-home investment, it’s important to consider the lifespan of the gas or electric tankless heaters available before investing in either model. Manufacturers provide warranties on most makes and models. As noted, gas-powered models tend to require more technician-supported repair and maintenance than electric models.

A gas tankless water heater is likely to have a 15- to 20-year lifespan, depending on the manufacturer and quality. Electric models can last 20 or more years, due to the reduced maintenance of electric tankless heaters. Warranties vary significantly, but most gas models come with a 10-year warranty on the heat exchange component. Other components typically have a five-year warranty. Most electric models have a five-year warranty for all components. Both models tend to offer a labor warranty of about a year.

Selecting the Right Gas or Electric Tankless Heaters Is Essential

The difference between these two models of water heaters is specific to your home’s needs and water usage. Our team at 128 Plumbing can provide a comprehensive overview of each model, along with a price breakdown for each option based on your home. Contact our team to learn more about the best tankless water heaters for your home.