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Home » Which is Better An Electric Vs. Gas Water Heater; A Heated Debate

Which is Better An Electric Vs. Gas Water Heater; A Heated Debate

Electric vs Gas Water Heaters

Choose Your Water Heater Hero!

Welcome to the ultimate showdown between gas and electric tank style water heaters, where we dive deep into the pros and cons of each so you can make the best-informed decision for your household. Who will emerge as your champion for efficiency and budget?

Electric Enforcer

Here comes the power of electricity! Our Electric water heaters bring you consistent hot water with minimal maintenance.

Lower installation cost

Energy efficency


Gas Gladiator

Feel the heat of tradition with gas water heaters, known for their robust speed and performance and lower long-term costs.

Lower operating costs

Faster Recovery Time

More Volume


In this economy, budget is a big factor when choosing the best water heater for a home. Four types of costs are associated with water heaters: the water heater itself, installation, operating costs, maintenance, and the number of years of use until a replacement heater is needed.

Installing an electric water heater has a lower unit cost. However, our current electricity prices can make operating an electric water heater more expensive, adding up over time.

Installing a gas water heater is generally more expensive. However, natural gas water heaters have a low operation cost.

Tank-style water heaters generally last 8-12 years. In my opinion, electric water heater models last slightly longer, but it’s too close to tell.

A gas water heater costs around $100 more than an electric model. However, gas water heaters might also cost more for installation as they also need to be vented. Make sure to check with your a plumber near you


Budget Winner: TIE

On the budgeting side, it’s a toss-up. The electric model is less expensive to install, but gas is more cost-efficient to operate.


The efficiency can be looked at in a few different ways. Such as energy efficiency and how fast the water is reheated once it runs out after a long shower.

Energy utilization

As you weigh your options, consider the Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) rating. The higher the rating, the better the energy savings.

Traditional water heaters have a UEF range of 0.63 to 0.95. A 0.95 UEF score means there was a 5% energy waste during the water heating and delivery process. A 0.63% means there was a 37% energy waste.

A Rheem 50-gallon gas water heater has a 0.64 UEF score, and a Rheem 50-gallon electric water heater has a 0.92 UEF score.

The clear winner for energy efficiency is electric water heaters.

Water heater recovery time

Another way to measure efficiency is how quickly the water is reheated after you hear someone scream,… “Hey! We just ran out of hot water!”

A gas water heater can heat water in half the time an electric water heater can. Therefore, if you’re next in line for a shower but the hot water just ran out, you’ll be waiting 30 minutes instead of an hour to take that shower.

The clear winner for water heater recovery time is gas water heaters.


Water heaters come in many sizes, the most common sizes being 40-gallon & 50-gallon tanks. Whether it’s a gas or electric model, it takes less time to heat up a smaller tank.

Gas water heaters, with their faster recovery time, can heat up a higher volume of water in less time. This also means you don’t necessarily need to buy as big of a tank to keep up with the household’s hot water demands.

The winner for the volume of water that can be heated is gas water heaters.

Efficiency Winner: Gas

If you prioritize energy efficiency, you may want to choose an electric water heater. However, if you don’t like waiting for hot water, a gas water heater might be the better option.


We live in a world where safety is highly regulated, but accidents can happen. So the question is which is safer, a gas or electric water heater.

Both models have risks. A gas water heater has the risk of a gas leak, carbon monoxide poisoning, and explosions as gas is highly combustible. On the other hand, electric water heaters come with the risk of electrical shock and electrical malfunctions, which could also result in a fire.

Safety Winner: Electric

Although both fuel types carry risks, electric water heaters pose less risk as they don’t work with gas, which carries more risk than electricity. 

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters represent modernity in household appliances, but just like gas heaters, they have their pros and cons to consider:


    • Electric water heaters often have lower initial purchase and installation costs, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers.
    • They are generally safer as there’s no risk of gas leaks, a consideration highlighted by organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    • Higher energy efficiency is a hallmark of electric water heaters, especially newer models that come with insulated tanks and advanced features.


    • Dependence on electricity means that in the event of a power outage, you may be left without hot water.
    • Electricity costs more than gas in many areas, potentially leading to higher utility bills over time.
    • Slower heating time can be a downside for large families or those with high hot water demands.

Gas Water Heaters

Gas water heaters have been a traditional favorite for many households, but as with any appliance, they come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages:

  • Pros:
    • Gas water heaters typically heat water faster than their electric counterparts, providing a continuous supply even for large families.
    • They can be more cost-effective in the long run, as natural gas tends to be less expensive than electricity in many regions, as supported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
    • Operation during power outages can be a significant advantage, ensuring you have hot water when the electricity is down.
  • Cons:
    • Higher upfront installation costs can be a con for some, as gas heaters may require additional venting or gas lines.
    • The potential for gas leaks poses a safety risk, necessitating regular maintenance and proper installation by professionals such as Sunset Plumbing.
    • Less energy-efficient than electric models, with most gas heaters falling behind the efficiency rates of their electric peers.

Making the Right Choice for Your Home

When selecting a water heater, assessing your immediate and future needs is crucial. Consider factors such as household size, hot water usage patterns, and local utility rates in your area. 


Both gas and electric water heaters have their rightful place, but your unique circumstances will dictate the best fit. At Sunset Plumbing Utah, we understand the importance of a reliable and cost-effective water heating system. Our experienced team is ready to provide expert installation, repair, and maintenance services for whichever type of water heater you choose. Remember, the right heater is not just about hot water; it’s about efficient, safe, and sustainable living.

To learn more about our water heater services or to schedule a consultation, visit Sunset Plumbing. We can help you keep the water running and your showers warm, no matter which heater fuels your home! 

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Alma Bradshaw

About The Author

Hello, My name is Alma Bradshaw. I'm a licensed plumber with over 20 years of experience in the industry. It's important to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest plumbing techniques, innovations, codes, and regulations. Learn more about plumbing here and feel free to comment below with any questions.

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Sunset Plumbing Utah

1562 Evans St, Lehi, UT 84043

Sunset Plumbing

776 N 470 E Genola, UT 84655

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