Gas vs. Electric Water Heaters: Which Costs Less?

March 11, 2016

Thinking about replacing your aging water heater? Perhaps you’re wondering if you’ll save money by switching your electric water heater to a gas version (or vice versa).

Our advice: Stick with the fuel source you have already.

Here’s why:

If you have a gas water heater, you already have the more cost effective water heater. Almost all types of gas water heaters cost less over their lifespan than their electric-powered counterparts, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

If you have an electric water heater, retrofitting your home to work with a gas water heater can easily erode savings you’d get with a gas water heater. For example, you’ll have to:

  • Add vent/flue to your home
  • Run a gas line to the water heater

And these retrofits can cost $800-$1500.

If you’re stuck with electric, there is good news: you can buy a water heater that uses electricity AND is cost effective: a hybrid heat pump water heater.

Hybrid heat pump: The most cost effective electric water heater

The ACEEE lists hybrid heat pump water heaters as having the lowest cost of ownership among electric models.

And even though they cost more to install initially, they can save you more than $2000 over the life of your water heater, compared to a traditional electric water heater.

How? Well, instead of creating heat, as all other water heaters do, hybrid heat pump water heaters actually move heat. They absorb the heat from the air around the water heater, depositing it into the water.

And since moving heat takes less energy than creating it, they’re more efficient.

What about solar water heaters?

The ACEEE has solar water heaters as one of the most expensive options because of the upfront cost of the solar panels.

But that number also doesn’t take into account federal tax credits and utility rebates that are available to you. Depending on what size water heater your family needs, a solar water heater can more than pay for itself.

Learn more in our article, Are Solar Water Heaters Worth the Cost in Florida?

Need a price to install a water heater in Florida?

Contact Plumbing Today and one of our trained, professional plumbers can give you a quote to install a new water heater for your Florida home.

Plumbing Today provides award-winning plumbing service to communities in Florida including Sarasota, Tampa Bay, Naples/Fort Myers and more.

Posted in: Buyer's Guide