Buying a Water Heater for Your Home-Gas vs. Electric

When you go out to replace your water heater you may be faced with a question- which will be the better choice: a gas water heater or an electric one? If your home doesn’t have a gas line, the answer may already be made for you. However, if you have both electricity and gas, this may be a tough question. We rely on water every day for various aspects of our daily routine. From washing our clothes, our dishes and filling your bathtub at the end of the night, hot water is pivotal in maintaining your homes and yourselves. Make sure you are doing the best for your home. When deciding between gas and electric, be sure to take into consideration key factors such as: amount of energy needed to keep water hot, what type of space you need the to fit the heater in, how much water you will be using (for yourself, family, business, etc), what appliances in your home require hot water, etc. Still not sure which direction to go? Here are some basic features to consider before you purchase either a gas or electric water heater.

Primary features of a gas water heater

When thinking about a gas heater, you may want to keep in mind a few key points, such as cost, performance, installation and life expectancy.


Regarding cost -initially, gas water heaters as a unit will be expensive to purchase and have installed, as they require ventilation and delicate handling. Once installed, however, gas heaters may eventually end up saving you money. Natural gas is generally less expensive than electricity as a power source. Typically, a gas heater will pay for the additional cost within a year of operation.


Gas water heaters perform well.  In a race, the gas water heater would have the upper hand. Generally, they are able to heat more water and at a faster rate. Gas heats faster and uses less energy while doing so. A gas heater can heat a 50-gallon tank, allowing it to keep up with the demands of a modern family. Gas, unlike electricity, will continue running in the event of a power outage.


The installation of a gas water heater is slightly complex. A tight fit or closed corner will not do for a gas-powered heater. Installation of a ventilation system is required, as natural gas is dangerous and possibilities of leaks should be combatted. Professional installation is required for this heater. If you are considering purchasing a gas water heater, call the professionals at Linthicum Plumbing.

Life expectancy

How long should you expect your gas water heater to last? On average, gas water heaters’ life expectancy is about 13 years.

Primary features of an electric water heater

Trying to determine if an electric water heater is your best option? Some things to consider include:  price, safety, convenience, usage and life expectancy of the unit.


When looking at price, the initial cost of an electric water heater will be less expensive than the purchase of a gas one. The installation will also be quick and relatively effortless and not as time-consuming as installing a gas water heater. However, you may see that in the long run that you are paying more for electricity than you would have for gas.


How safe are electric water heaters?  Typically, electric heaters are safer to use than gas ones. While electric heaters do have a risk of electrocution from the wiring, gas heaters are powered by natural gas. The risk of a gas leak is more dangerous than that of electrocution. For safety reasons, gas water heaters need to be installed in a place with plenty of space and ventilation.

Convenience and Usage

A major advantage of an electric water heater is that there is no wasting of water. It only heats the amount of water that is going to be used. In addition, the electric water heater only heats on demand, saving electricity and water. However, the amount of time an electric water heater needs to recover after reaching full capacity is longer than needed by a gas heater. Meaning, if you run out of hot water in the middle of your shower, you will be wrapping up with a cold one.

Life Expectancy

How long should your electric water heater last.  Most electric water heaters life expectancy is about 12 years.

In summary, before purchasing either a gas or electric water heater, be sure to consider your home and your needs. If you have a big family, a gas heater may be what you need to keep up with the hot water demands. However, if you have safety concerns and want to install a timer on your heater, an electric water heater may suit your home best. Both have their advantages and disadvantages; the experienced professionals at Linthicum Plumbing can help. Contact us today for more information.