What is a better choice for your home: gas or electric water heater? If you live in a home that’s over 10 years old, or if you’re shopping for a new home that’s not being built from the ground up, you face the possibility of changing the existing water heater. We’ve written about types of water heaters (Tankless and Conventional) and the differences between the two. Most people here in Texas opt for either a gas water heater, or an electric one. In northern states, oil and propane water heaters are more common. If you’re in the market for a new water heater, or if you’re looking for more information on what you have, that is this week’s subject.

The Federal Energy Management Program has a nifty website that allows you to measure how efficient (or inefficient) your existing water heater is. Some of the input selections might not be data you know off-hand. Check your water bill for more information. Fill out what you can and have a good idea of how your water heater is doing. Switch between gas and electric to see if you could have a water heater that uses less energy and water. The output selections will show you what your water heater is doing compared to other options, and the costs of each.

Aside from replacing a water heater that’s going bad, saving money on energy and water use is another consideration for getting a new water heater. Purchasing and installing a new water heater is one of the most expensive energy consumers in your home, second to your Central Heat and A/C units. Some consumers factor the cost of gas rising to a higher utility cost with a gas water heater. That’s not an accurate estimation. It’s more efficient to heat water with gas than electricity.

With both gas and electric water heaters, energy efficiency is measured with EFs (energy factors). Comparing the EFs of these two types of water heaters give a clearer picture of energy savings. The higher the EF is the greater the efficiency. While many electric water heaters have EFs in the high range, they’re often not as efficient as gas water heaters because it requires more BTUs to heat water with electricity than it does for gas.

The size of the tank is another important factor when comparing the two. Depending on the size of your family or household, as well as how much water is consumed daily, you may need a larger tank size. Let us help you find the best water heater for your house, as well as help you with the decision of gas or electric.