Most homeowners choose natural gas hot water heaters, simply because they tend to be the easiest to come by. However, there are also tank-style hot water heaters that are powered by electricity. Should you install one of these in your home? Take a look at these pros and cons to help you decide.
Pro: Electric hot water heaters may be more eco-friendly.
Whether a natural gas hot water heater or electric hot water heater is more earth-friendly really depends on where you get your electricity. If your electricity is generated from solar, wind, or another green resource, then using an electric hot water heater is more earth-friendly than burning natural gas -- a limited resource. However, if your electricity is generated by burning oil or coal, then a gas hot water heater may actually be more earth-friendly.
Pro: Electric hot water heaters don't have a standing pilot light.
On a gas hot water heater, a small flame known as the pilot light stays lit all of the time. The pilot light is often one of the first parts to fail on a gas hot water heater. Electric hot water heaters do not have a pilot light since they don't have an actual flame; the water is heated by a burner similar to that on your electric stove. They, therefore, tend to be less prone to breakdowns, and you never have to worry about relighting a pilot light if it blows out when the wind enters your basement.
Con: They don't heat up as quickly.
Though heating time varies by model, electric hot water heaters tend to take longer to warm up a tank of water than do gas hot water heaters. If you live alone or with one other person, this may not be a big deal since you'll rarely go through a whole tank of water. But if you have a whole family, an electric hot water heater may leave you waiting longer between showers for the water to get warm again.
Con: They pose a risk if your basement floods.
If your basement floods and you have an electric hot water heater, you'll need to be able to turn the power off to the unit before you enter the basement. The unit could electrify the standing water, shocking you if you were to step in it. This is not an issue with a gas hot water heater. If your basement is often wet or has flooded before, a gas hot water heater may be a safer choice.
For more information, contact your local licensed plumber.
Many people think that a plumber is there to be called to unclog toilets and drain pipes, but they don't understand that there are a number of other tasks that a plumber can do around the home. As the wife of a plumber, I know very well how much my husband does when he is out working. He comes home and tells me his fun stories about the superhero that was flushed down the toilet or the hot water heater that nearly exploded. My blog is filled with all sorts of tips, stories and information that can help you get a better idea of everything that a plumber can do for you.