Gas vs. Electric

Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater vs. Tankless Electric Water Heater
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When considering a purchase of a tankless water heater for your home or business, you first need to consider which type of tankless unit will work best for you, taking into consideration your hot water needs and other factors. Specifically, should you purchase an electric tankless water heater, or a tankless water heater powered by natural gas? Here's a look at each type, including their pros and cons.

Electric Tankless Hot Water Heaters

Electric tankless water heaters are generally more efficient than gas tankless water heaters. Gas-powered water heaters generally have an energy efficiency rating between 80% - 85%. In most cases, they are efficient enough to earn Recovery Act tax credits, but they are still not as energy efficient as an electric tankless water heater; electric tankless water heaters have an efficiency closer to 98%.

The initial cost of purchasing an electric model is also less expensive than purchasing a gas-powered tankless water heater (generally speaking). Electric tankless water heaters range from about $500 - $700, whereas gas tankless water heaters have a starting price closer to $1,000.

However, tankless water heaters powered by gas typically cost 10 – 15% less to operate than an electric water heater, because in most areas, electricity is more expensive than natural gas.

Things to consider when purchasing an electric tankless water heater:

* Voltage: Units generally accommodate voltage of 110, 120, 208, 220, 240, and 277 volts.

* Amperage: Can your home support the electrical demands of a tankless water heater?

* Circuit Breakers: You should double-check to see that you have a circuit (or circuits) that will support an electric tankless water heater. In some cases, you may need to put your water heater on its own circuit.

Tankless Water Heaters Powered by Natural Gas

Whereas placement of an electric tankless water heaters is limited based on its proximity to a source of electrical power, the placement of a gas tankless water heaters is limited based on its ability to vent exhaust fumes. Certain models of gas tankless water heaters must be installed outside, while others can be installed outside but require careful ventilation. In some cases, ventilation issues can make a gas tankless water heater harder to install properly (and therefore more expensive).

However, electric tankless water heaters place a high demand on a household's electricity. Although their total energy usage is still much lower than a traditional tank water heater (making it better in the long run on your power bill and on the environment), peak electricity needs are quite substantial. Certain houses and businesses simply do not have the electrical power available to sustain the use of an electric water heater, in which case a gas-powered water heater is a better choice.

Another circumstance in which a gas-powered tankless water heater is a better choice is in homes or businesses that have truly substantial water needs. In most cases, an electric water heater will do, but for very large families or water-intensive businesses, a gas-powered tankless water heater will be better at meeting your needs.

Take a close look at your own circumstances before being swayed by marketing hype towards one type of tankless water heater or another. With a little research, you'll be able to find a tankless water heater that will save you money each month, while simultaneously cutting down on your home's greenhouse gas emissions.

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