The debate between a gas vs electric tankless water heater is a conflict that many consumers face when shopping for a tankless water heater. For some, the choice between the two types of tankless water heaters is easier since they base their decision on the availability of natural gas or electric power in their homes. However, if your household is capable of accommodating both types of water heaters then you will have to base your decision on other factors. Neither a gas or electric tankless water heater is better than the other and your decision ultimately depends on the circumstances of your household and your hot water needs, budget and preferences.
Gas and electric tankless water heaters drastically vary when it comes to costs, with electric water heaters being considerably cheaper than its gas-powered counterparts. You can find a good-quality electric tankless water heater for as little as $500. On the other hand, if you want a gas tankless water heater from an established brand, then you can expect to spend approximately $1000. Gas water heater models with electronic ignition systems and other bells and whistles cost even more.
Gas tankless water heaters are not only more expensive in retail price but also in installation costs. Due to its small size and less complex design, electric tankless water heaters are far easier to install. They can also be installed in narrow spaces and practically any area within the household, such as under the sink or in a closet. In contrast, gas tankless water heaters require a more complicated—and costly—installation. Gas water heaters require ventilation, gas supply and other necessities that an average household may not readily have.
Gas tankless water heaters are presently cheaper to operate than their electric counterparts. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why consumers opt for gas tankless water heaters. They expect to recover their investment in purchase and installation with the money they save from operating costs. However, it must also be noted that the price between natural gas and electricity depends on your location. If your region has limited supply of natural gas, then it will automatically cost more than electricity. It is also worth mentioning that natural gas is not expected to stay cheaper than electricity for long. Unlike electricity prices that are expected to remain stable, the cost of natural gas is expected to escalate in the future.
Gas and electric tankless water heaters also supply different levels of hot water so it’s important to evaluate your hot water needs. Electric tankless water heaters are able to provide as much as 8 gallons per minute, which is enough for the average family. Gas tankless water heaters are capable of providing a larger supply of hot water, making them ideal for buildings and homes that have a especially high hot water demand.
Gas water heaters require a yearly inspection by licensed technicians to ensure that its performance remains efficient and safe. Aside from the occasional (and optional) cleaning of the inlet screen filter, most electric tankless water heaters require no maintenance.