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The Benefits of Using an Electric Water Heater

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 at 10:16 am

If you’re looking to replace your old water heater, you’ve probably been debating whether to go gas or electric. While the price differences between gas and electric hot water units and the efficiency of gas water heaters may lead you to shy away from the electric tank heater, there are a number of reasons why you should go with an electric water heater instead of a gas tank. Here are just some of the reasons to go electric.

Installation Costs

When you install a new gas water heater, you have more work cut out for you in the installation process than you would if you purchased an electric heater. Because gas heaters operate on, you guessed it, gas, you need to install a vent and vent hood above your heater. This vent system will allow for the excess gas to leave your home, but that also means you need to install enough piping to allow the gas to leave your home. With an electric water heater, however, you don’t have to install a single piece of pipe. Once you have your heater in place, you install a special outlet so as to power your heater, and you’re good to go.

Necessary Space

Now that you know about the need for a vent when you use a gas heater, it’s time to discuss the space issues that can arise when you don’t go with an electric water heater. A gas tank water heater requires no less than six inches of ventilation around the tank’s top and sides. Unfortunately, if you’re working with a tight space, such as a bedroom closet, you can’t simply throw a gas unit in there and call it good. However, an electric unit is a great choice for small confines, as you don’t have to worry about gas building up, or possibly exploding.

Greater Safety

Have you ever heard the horror stories of when a gas water heater explodes? Well, two things can ultimately cause a gas heater tank to explode. In newer gas models, the bottom of the tank is sealed, making it more difficult for the gas vapors to hit the open flame. In older gas heaters, though, there was no seal, leaving the bottom of the tank vulnerable. The second thing that can lead to a gas heater explosion is a malfunctioning pressure relief valve. When the valve is unable to relieve pressure built up within the tank, and when the tank can no longer take the pressure, the tank can explode.

No Pilot

Further touching on water heater safety, you’ll never have a need to relight your electric water heater, where you would need to do so if your gas water heater’s pilot light goes out for any reason. Though, newer models of gas heaters use electric ignitions, which eliminate the need for the pilot light. However, this creates a rather large issue that gas heaters didn’t have in the past.

No Longer at a Disadvantage

In the past, when the power went out, you were in luck if you had a gas water heater. Older models allowed for your home to always have hot water, even in the event of a big storm or power outage, since they required you to light the heater’s pilot light with a match. Well, as we just discussed, newer models are no longer equipped to have you light the pilot by hand. Well, now using electric ignitions, gas water heaters no longer have the edge in a power outage. If you lose power with either type of heater, you lose the ability to heat your water.

While there are reasons to buy either type of water heater, your electric heater is the safer option for a number of reasons. With natural gas and electricity costs expected to rise, there isn’t much to say about the gas heater being your cheaper option. If you’re in the market for a new tank water heater, consider going electric.

Rachael Jones is a blogger for DIYMother, where women aren’t afraid to use power tools in a dress.

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