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Purchasing an Efficient Water Heater: Gas or Electric?

Your water heater died. Kaput. Sayonara. That’s no good. You’re kind of scrambling, because you need hot water to, you know, shower and not stink. Your neighbor recommended My Plumber Heating & Cooling for the purchase and installation of a new water heater. As Manassas VA’s resident plumber, we think you made the right decision; we’ll get the water boiling again in a jiffy, but don’t ask us to do the dishes. Our team of experienced home appliance professionals is standing by to answer that ages-old question:

To purchase an electric or gas water heater?

Gas or electric: Which performs better?

Gas. A gas water heater can warm a 50-gallon tank in one hour, and its recovery rate (that is the time it takes to re-heat after use) is approximated at 50 gallons an hour, whereas its electric counterpart takes nearly three times as long to heat the same amount of water. Another significant benefit of gas is this: It’ll still work if the power goes out! More hot water faster, and you can still wash dishes in the dark. Gas water heaters are often recommended for large families / people who take lots of showers.

Gas or electric: Which is more efficient?

In theory, electric. Your typical gas storage unit is pretty inefficient; water is kept hot at all times, which means gas is never not being used, which means quite a bit of heat is lost from exhausted gases and through the walls of the storage tank. It’s convenient, sure, but if efficiency tops your list of importance, consider purchasing an electric water heater. It is, however, important to mention that when you factor in the higher cost of electricity versus gas, the efficiency savings are minimal. (Additionally, water heater manufacturers and installation professionals are rising to the efficiency challenge; modern gas condensing units are more and more efficient, and adequate insulation can help too.

Another, third option is to purchase and install an electric heat pump. These units pull heat first from the air all around, with back up from electric resistors, to heat the water for your shower. An electric heat pump is the most efficient by far, but remain very expensive to install and maintain. Ah, maybe someday…

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