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Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. Blog

Making a Choice between Gas and Electric Water Heaters

tank-water-heaterYou can’t expect that your Winter Springs, FL water heater will last forever, no matter how much you would like never to have to worry about losing hot water for your showers or for cleaning dishes. (Have you ever tried to scrub out grease from pots and pans using only cold water? We don’t recommend it.) But a water heater is a device that puts in a tremendous amount of work each year, and can account for 40% of your annual heating bills. That stress means one day the water heater will either fail on you or give off enough warning signs it’s close to failing that you can have it replaced before it does.

We hope you end up in the latter situation—you won’t have to stay unshowered until the new system is put in! But no matter the reason you need to a new water heater installed, you’ll face a few important choices. One of the age-old water heater questions is “gas or electric?” Sometimes the answer is simple. Other times it’s not. But you have our professional plumbers ready to see that you have the right answer, no matter what.

The Energy Efficiency Question

First, let’s look at the question of the difference in efficiency between the two types of water heaters. This is a place where buyers often make a mistake: superficially, an electric-powered water heater is much more efficient. Almost 100% of the energy used in an electrical system goes straight into the water, with no waste. A gas-powered system, on the other hand, has much lower efficiency because of standing heat loss, although newer systems are improving significantly in efficiency performance.

The deceptive part of the energy efficiency question is that efficiency doesn’t factor in energy cost, only how much energy goes to waste. Electricity is a more costly energy source than natural gas, so even the lower-efficiency gas water heaters will cost less to run than electric systems.

The Hybrid Water Heater Option

There’s an alternative for electric water heaters that can help lower energy costs: a heat pump water heater, i.e. a hybrid water heater. These systems don’t use electrical resistance heating (i.e. heating up coils to send heat into the tank, much like the way a toaster heats up bread). Instead, these water heaters draw heat from the air and transfer it into the tank. If you have no natural gas connection for your home—making a gas water heater impossible—look into the hybrid option.

The Effectiveness Question

Which system is more effective at doing its job? This answer is an easy one: the natural gas water heater. The average gas water heater can heat up a full tank three times faster than an electric water heater. This is an important factor for homes with high hot water use.

If you feel on the fence and you want more data from experts to help with the choice, that’s why we’re here! You must have professionals install any water heater, no matter what, so have our licensed plumbers on the job from the start to ensure you have the best type and size of water heater to meet your household needs.

Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. has proudly served Central Florida since 1975.

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