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Are Gas or Electric Water Heaters Better for Your Phoenix Home?

December 04, 2019

If you already have a water heater installed in your home, it’s typically best to stick with the type of system you currently have (gas or electric). Changing your water heater from gas to electric or vice versa is an extremely expensive undertaking and will require additional infrastructure (venting, wiring, piping, etc.).

However, if you’re building a new home and need to install a water heater for the first time, one of your first questions is probably “What fuel type should I invest in? Gas or electric?”

The type of water heater that will be best for your home depends on your preferences and budget.

To help you determine which type of water heater is best for your home, we’ll look at factors like:

  • Installation cost
  • Operational cost
  • Safety concerns
  • Convenience/availability
  • Recovery time

Want help from a professional? We are happy to speak with you about your options. Learn more about the water heater services we offeror…

Factor #1: Installation cost

Typically, gas water heaters cost more to install than electric water heaters do.

This is because gas water heaters heat water via gas and a live flame, which produces combustion gases. To properly rid your home of these gases, venting may need to be installed. The tech who installs your system may need to make modifications to your home to accommodate a gas water heater’s venting process (which will increase time and labor).

Electric water heaters, on the other hand, don’t produce combustion gases and therefore don’t require the above infrastructure/modifications (however, as we mentioned above, if you currently have a gas water heater, you will need to pay for adjustments like having an electrician run new power to the area the water heater will sit).

Factor #2: Operational cost

Gas water heaters usually cost less to operate on a month-to-month basis than electric water heaters.

Gas is a cheaper type of fuel than electricity is, so your monthly energy bills with a gas water heater will be less expensive.

Factor #3: Safety

Homeowners typically have 2 big misconceptions about gas water heater safety:

1. They can leak gas

2. The tank itself can explode

The bottom line is that with proper installation, both electric and gas water heaters are equally safe options for your Phoenix home.

To help you make a smarter decision, we'll explain the 2 common gas water heater misconceptions above.

Gas water heaters leaking gas:

As you know, gas water heaters use gas to heat your home’s water. Because of this, there is the potential that a fire could occur or that carbon monoxide could leak into your home. However, with current safety standards, it is extremely unlikely that you would experience either of these issues with a gas water heater.

For example, modern gas water heaters are required to be installed with safety features that prevent CO poisoning and/or dangerous fire/explosions.

Some gas water heater safety features include:

  • Double-walled vents that direct flue gases outside of the home.
  • A thermocouple (i.e. flame sensor) that will shut off gas flow to the water heater if it senses combustion problems.

A thermal switch, which trips and shuts off gas flow and power to the water heater when it senses nearby flammable vapors, such as gasoline or paint fumes.

Tank water heaters blowing up:

This is a misconception because:

  1. Both electric and gas tanks have the potential to blow up and…
  2. Modern water heaters have plenty of safety features that will shut the tank down if the tank is in danger of exploding.

The underlying problem is that as heat inside the tank increases, the pressure increases. Both gas and electric tanks have the potential to reach dangerous pressure levels.... but there are certain safety features like the pressure relief valve, that keep this pressure from building. A blown water heater is extremely rare and is not something you’re likely to experience with either an electric or gas heater.

Factor #4: Convenience/Availability

Typically, electricity is more readily available than gas is, making an electric water heater more convenient.

What do we mean by that?

Well, every home has access to electricity, but not all homes are connected to gas. So, if you have access to natural gas (i.e. you’re installing other gas appliances) then a gas water heater is a great option. But, if you don’t, piping natural gas to your home is an expensive undertaking.

Factor #5: Recovery time (tank water heater)

Gas tank water heaters have a faster recovery time than electric tank water heaters do.

Essentially, this means that if you have a tank water heater and use all of the heated water in your tank, a gas water heater will be able to heat a new tank of water faster than an electric heater would.

If you have a large household or you go through heated water quickly, then a gas tank water heater is probably the better option for your home.

Ready to install a new water heater? Hire the best in Phoenix!

Whether you’ve decided on which type of water heater you want for your home or you still have questions, we’re here to help. We have years of experience serving Phoenix homeowners, and we’d be happy to help you too. Learn more about the water heater services we offer or…

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By Ty Lindsay

Ty Lindsay is the Director of Field Operations at Patrick Riley | Isley’s and a 15-year veteran of the plumbing and HVAC trades. In 2010, Ty earned his Journeyman’s plumbing license. He became a Master Plumber five years later and earned his Journeyman HVAC technician’s license that same year. Ty’s breadth of knowledge in plumbing and HVAC includes both residential and commercial work. He’s been a loyal member of the Patrick Riley | Isley’s team since 2016.