What is more energy-saving? Gas or electric water heating?

Water heating is one of the most energy-consuming activities we carry out in our homes. According to the Department of Energy, water heating accounts for at least 14% of our home’s utility bills and 20% of energy use. 

Choosing the best type of water heater for your needs is crucial if you’re trying to monitor your energy costs closely. The less energy your heater uses, the more you save on your utility bill. 

There are usually two options to consider when buying a water heater—gas or electric. Before picking either of them, you need to consider some factors. Most people consider a heater’s cost over anything else, while others also consider efficiency, energy consumption, capacity, safety, and installation. Needless to say, the second approach is the go-to way.

This article will talk about gas and electric water heaters, how much energy they consume, and which is the better option. 

What is more energy-saving Gas or electric water heating

Gas-powered water heating 

Gas water heaters are very common. They exist as tanks that heat water using a natural gas or propane gas-powered burner. The burner sits at the bottom of the tank, where it heats up and boils the water at the bottom before progressing to the top. Gas heaters usually have a discharge tube at the top that draws water up.

Gas water heaters are cheaper to use than electric heaters because, on average, gas is cheaper than electricity. You’ll spend more money using an electric heater than a gas heater. Gas water heaters also heat water faster than electric units and are helpful in a power outage. 

But before you choose to get a gas water heater, know that they’re less energy efficient than electric water heaters. They may be cheaper and work faster, but they waste a lot of energy. This energy waste is due to heat loss that happens during heating cycles. 

During a heating cycle, gas-powered water heaters give off byproducts like carbon dioxide and release energy along with it.

Gas water heaters also lose a lot of energy for reheating. After you use hot water, your heater adds cold water to the heater tank to replace the water you’ve consumed. The gas heater has to heat the incoming cold water, which takes more energy than necessary.  

Apart from the problem of energy waste, homeowners without gas lines have to install them on their own when purchasing a gas water heater. Getting a gas line installed requires a series of processes, including obtaining proper permits. So if your home doesn’t have a gas line yet, be ready for some extra costs and a slight delay. 

Gas water heaters include storage water heaters and tankless water heaters.

What is more energy-saving? Gas or electric water heating?

Electric-powered water heating

An electric water heater heats water with electricity from high voltage rods fixed in its tank. Electric water heaters come in different sizes and types. There are whole-house systems, point-of-use heaters, tankless heaters, and storage water heaters.

An electric heater’s size usually determines the amount of energy it consumes. As a rule, large water heaters consume more energy. Although they may be slower, electric water heaters are more efficient than gas water heaters. 

As confusing as it may sound, it’s really quite simple. Electric heaters don’t lose any of the heat they generate during the heating process, so they save more energy. 

They may be more expensive than gas heaters. Still, electric water heaters are relatively safe, unlike gas heaters that pose safety risks because of the byproducts they emit and possible gas leaks.

Water heater manufacturers usually use energy factors (EF) to measure energy efficiency. Energy-efficient gas heaters typically have an EF of around 0.67, while energy-efficient electric heaters have an EF of 0.95 or higher. 

In general, electric water heaters save more energy because they require less energy to operate. 

These days, there are energy-efficient gas water heaters, too, for people that insist on using gas water heaters. They are designed to use significantly less energy than usual. 

What is more energy-saving? Gas or electric water heating?

Tankless water heaters 

This type of water heater is much more energy-efficient than its tank-based counterpart. Tankless water heaters are highly recommended if you’re trying to save energy and reduce your electricity bill.

They come in both gas and electric designs. If you like the idea of an electric tankless water heater, you can read more about the best brands for single-point and whole-house models, and decide what’s best for you. 

Unlike other storage water heaters, tankless water heaters don’t do any pre-heating. They’re also called instantaneous water heaters because they provide hot water only when there’s a need for it. They operate by heating the water through the tap with a gas burner or electric current. With tankless water heaters, there’s no need to store hot water and risk having to reheat the water when it gets cold. Tankless water heaters are the most energy-efficient because they provide just the amount of hot water needed at a time.

Also, against common misbelief, you can use tankless water heaters for large appliances, in the shower, and in the kitchen. Although they may require a substantial cost initially, they last much longer than traditional water heaters. They come in different sizes, and their price varies based on the technology used. Some may be relatively expensive, but you’re likely to find a tankless water heater that suits your preferences and budget needs. 

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