As with any choice that you make for your home or business, there are pros and cons to choosing one option over another. In any case, you want to save money. When it comes to something as important as a water heater, you want to be sure that you’re not only picking the option that will save you the most money in the long run, but that also does the job the best.
The debate over whether you should choose an electric or natural gas water heater is a big one. The truth is that both can be effective. It really depends on how you plan to use the water heater in your home or business that should inform your final choice.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Natural Gas Water Heaters
Natural gas water heaters can heat water in less time than an electric water heater. Also, natural gas costs tend to be significantly less than comparative electric costs. They are also the most popular option in many homes.
However, not every home is equipped to have a natural gas water heater. This is similarly the case with commercial businesses. Typically, however, they tend to be the least expensive to maintain, which is why they are such a popular choice, even if the home or business has to be retrofitted to have the ability to have a gas water heater.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Water Heaters
The obvious advantage of electric water heaters is that they don’t require special natural gas lines and equipment to function. You just plug them in as with any other appliances.
In some circumstances, it is much more convenient to install an electric water heater. This is especially true in cases where it isn’t possible to run a pipe from the heater to the flue in the roof for venting.
Also, natural gas isn’t available in every area, in which case electric or another less popular option, such as heating oil/diesel, kerosene, propane, or even solar-powered may be necessary.
The major disadvantage to electric water heaters is that they take more time to heat water than natural gas water heaters. This means there will be increased energy costs.
What Other Factors Should Influence My Final Decision on Choosing a Water Heater?
The U.S. Department of Energy has a great Energy Cost Calculator that shows you the potential cost savings of using a more energy-efficient water heater model, whether it’s natural gas or electric. So, if you decide that you still need an electric water heater, you can find how much it will actually save you to invest in a more expensive, more efficient model.
Also, it is possible for plumbers to convert electric water heaters into gas water heaters. So if you have an electric water heater that still functions properly, but want to save money by switching to gas, a water heater conversion could actually save you money in the long run.
Your final decision comes down to two factors: whether electric or natural gas makes more sense for your particular location and how much money you’re looking to save over time VS how efficient you want your water heater to be for your needs. Both electric and natural gas water heaters can serve their function just as well over the long term, as well as other more unusual options.