TRAVIS WANTS TO KNOW — Is It Time to Think About a New Water Heater?

The Very Basic Pros & Cons of Electric vs. Gas Water Heaters

Hot water for your home accounts for almost 20% of your utility bill; it’s the second largest expense you have for your home. That means that having a good water heater will make a significant difference in the check you’re writing to APS or Southwest Gas.

The majority of water heaters in Phoenix are the storage tank models we’re all familiar with (there are other kinds that we’ll profile later, but for now – we’re talking about the storage tank model only). Storage tank water heaters run on either gas or electricity.

Now, we all know that a gas is a less expensive heating source than electric, but according to the Southwest Energy Project’s statistics, electric water heaters are still what most homes in Phoenix are using. Here’s a comparison of the two in terms of pros and cons:

ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS – The Good:

  • They’re less expensive to buy.
  • They’re less expensive and easier to install; they don’t need access to gas lines.
  • They’re safer than gas water heaters over all.
  • They tend to last longer than gas water heaters.
  • They tend to be safer than gas water heaters.

ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS – The Not-So-Good:

  • In the long run, they’re more expensive to run.
  • They’re be less energy efficient than gas water heaters.
  • They heat water more slowly; if you run out it takes longer to restore.
  • If there’s a power outage and you don’t have power, you don’t have hot water.

GAS WATER HEATERS – The Good:

  • Gas is much less expensive than electricity, so they save on energy bills in the long run.
  • Gas water heaters heat water much more quickly; you don’t run out as often or as fast.
  • They’re more energy efficient than electric water heaters.

GAS WATER HEATERS – The Not-So-Good:

  • Gas water heaters are more expensive to buy initially.
  • They’re somewhat more difficult – thus expensive – to install.
  • You need to have access to natural gas or propane in order to have one.
  • They require more space than electric water heaters.

 

 

TRAVIS SAYS – even if it’s an EMERGENCY – don’t go out and buy the first WATER HEATER you see! Take the time to choose….

If your dishwasher, or maybe your microwave breaks and needs to be replaced, well – you can get by for a day or two without those. You wash your dishes by hand, you cook on your stove, ok, it’s do-able. It may be a little inconvenient, but it’s no big deal (in spite of what your kids may say). You can take a little time (though not too much!) to do some research and figure out which type, kind, and model you need – and then decide where you want to buy it so you can get the best deal.

But when a family’s hot water heater goes down – that’s a different matter all together. No hot water and it’s all hands on deck and man the lifeboats because – Houston – we’ve got a problem!There are some appliances in a home that may not need to be purchased or replaced immediately, but your hot water heater isn’t one of them. Life gets pretty tough when three kids (and the dog!) all need a bath, there are 8 baskets of laundry backed up, and your family is eating pop tarts for dinner because there aren’t any clean plates.

It’s amazing how a little thing like no hot water can bring life to a screeching halt, isn’t it?

Water heaters chug along pretty reliably, until – they don’t. Warning signs that they’re ailing or reaching the end of their life span are easy to miss. So when we get a call that a water heater needs to be replaced, it’s often “as soon as possible,” but preferably – yesterday. When this is the case, it can be difficult to do the research or take the time to choose your new water heater wisely. Particularly if you had a cold shower that morning.

But we’d like to urge you to – please – don’t go out and buy the first water heater you see. Here are our recommendations for what do you want to consider in purchasing a new water heater:

Size
The size of your home and the size of your family is, of course, the most important thing in determining what kind of water heater to get. Even though there are guidelines for how many gallons per hour, etc. – there are other considerations, of course. For instance, if you have a family of four, but one of them is a teenager, you may need the same size water heater that a family of 8 would use. This is just an observation, based on experience. And having a teenager.

Where you live
The first considerations are going to be where you live. Thanks to our mild winters, and oven-like summers, a home in Arizona will use less energy to heat – well, actually – just about anything in the course of a year. This will certainly affect the type of water heater and insulation you need.

Location
Older homes built smaller areas where water heaters were installed; safety and wall distance issues may dictate what kind of the water heater you can get. Also – sometimes there has been an addition to a home, and that needs to be factored in as well.

Current system – gas or electric?
Of course, how your house is already set up – whether it runs on gas or electricity, may be one of the main determining factors. However, we have noticed a trend in all-electric homes toward installing gas lines so it’s possible to switch to a gas water heater. Long-term lower cost and energy efficiency often make this an attractive option. If you’re going to be in the home for awhile, it might be time to look at installing a gas water heating system.

Cost
While cost is always an issue, of course, this is one place where skimping doesn’t pay off in the long run. We’d like to encourage you to get the best water heater your budget can afford.

Energy efficient?
Given the energy crisis and Arizona’s drought issues – it’s not just important – it’s crucial to look into high energy efficient water heating systems. Not only is it the right thing to do, you also get a water heater with an Energy Star rating. There are rebates and tax credits possible to help defray the cost through 2016.

Storage or tankless?
Storage water heaters are the most common, and the ones most people are familiar with. They have a tank that holds anywhere from 30 to 80 gallons of water, and the tank is heated by either gas or electricity. Storage tanks stay hot continuously, even when not being used. Tankless, on the other hand, will heat water only as needed, without storing it or heating all the time, and they also run on either gas or electric. The difference is that a storage water heating system is less expensive up front, but will cost more to run, while a tankless water heater is more expensive up front, but will ultimately cost less and be more energy efficient in the long run.

These are the considerations to start with, but if you’re already feeling overwhelmed about which water heater to choose – don’t be. Here at Moon Valley Plumbing – water heaters are one of the things we specialize in! We’ll take the time to sit down with you and help you understand the pro’s and con’s of all the different makes and models on the market today, so you can make not only an informed decision – but the best decision for your family’s needs.

We have years of experience in working on and installing only the best, top-quality water heaters on the market today, and our recommendations are always based on the brands and models we know work the best. That means we’re not going to tell you which kind to get, but we will help you make the choice you’re happy with. We aren’t in the business of selling a particular water heater, but we are in the business of helping our customers figure out which is the best water heating system for their needs. And then – we can get it installed for you – fast – so you can get your life back on track!