Water heater: Gas or electric?

Do you prefer a gas or an electric water heater?

A gas water heater is a workhorse capable of recovering quickly and reheating enough water to meet your family’s needs.

But the gas model has some drawbacks.

  • While old codes allowed a gas heater to use a single wall vent pipe to the outside, newer codes call for a double wall B-type pipe, which means more safety but more installation cost.
  • Gas water heaters have a flame, which can be dangerous if it’s close to anything in a storage area or garage where gasoline or other flammables are stored. New codes call for heaters to be atop an 18-inch-taall stand if they’re in a storage area or garage.

Before deciding on gas or electric, check with your local building permit office to find out the specific requirements in your city or county.

Electric water heaters have a huge edge in the marketplace. Big utilities like Alabama Power will give you a free electric water heater or at least a significant rebate if you switch from gas to electric.

There’s more. As Alabama Power notes: “With an electric water heater, there’s no pilot light to light — and relight. There are no fumes from gas or carbon monoxide, and no ventilation problems.

“It’s also economical — a family of four can have all the hot water they need for about $30 per month. An electric water heater can save you money and has other benefits that gas water heating just can’t match.”

Option C:  You can have the best of both worlds!

We know a savvy contractor who keeps his family happy with this solution: He uses a 40-gallon gas water heater to heat the water, then channels the water into a 40-gallon electric heater to keep it warm until it’s needed.

Questions? Contact us at standardhvac.com and we will provide all the free information you want to make your decision.