Gas vs. Electric Tankless Water Heaters

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

Gas vs. Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Electric tankless water heater

Natural Gas vs. Electric Tankless Water Heaters

Are you thinking about going to a tankless water heater for your house? A big question is, is gas or electric? Knowing which to choose might seem difficult at first. This is especially true if this is the first time you’ve looked into tankless water heaters. So how do you decide on gas or electric with a new tankless water heater? Keep reading to learn more.

On average, a water heater uses about 18% of a home’s energy use according to the U.S. Department of Energy. An efficient water heater, tankless or traditional, will save you money. Different water heaters, gas or electric, tankless or tank, come with various positives and at different prices. You want to make the right decision for the long term for your family, home, and budget.

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters utilize a heating element to heat water. An electric heater is smaller than a gas water heater. Another major factor for some is an electric model doesn’t put out potentially harmful gases.

Electric tankless hot water heaters have high-efficiency ratings. They can be expected to last for a long time. They are generally considered safer than a gas heater. An electric tankless water heater puts out about eight gallons of hot water a minute.

An electric tankless heater may not be the best option for large households. One more potential thought is if you live in an area with higher than usual rates of power outage. When there’s no electricity, you won’t have hot water.

Gas Water Heaters

Gas water heaters are powered by natural gas. Some of the main positives of gas heaters are they deliver hot water instantly and with a greater output. A gas water heater will function through a power outage.

Gas vs. Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Gas tankless water heater

Gas heaters have a long expected lifespan, too, although they require more frequent and scheduled maintenance and inspection by a pro technician. Gas models may get mineral deposits, require maintenance and flushing, and need safety inspections due to the gas throughout their spans.

Key Points about Gas vs. Electric Tankless Water Heaters

Upfront Cost

The initial cost for a tankless water heater is the purchase of the unit itself and the installation cost. Gas heaters are generally slightly more expensive than electric ones. Electric tankless water heaters are usually less expensive.

Another choice is a condensing or non-condensing water heater. A non-condensing model is less expensive for the unit, but usually more expensive to install. A condensing heater system doesn’t need venting.


The cost of installation and what you should know about where the heater can be mounted in your home should be important factors.

Electric tankless water heaters are usually less expensive to install. They are smaller units and there’s no ventilation needed. They are usually not complex units or systems. Often, an electric tankless unit can go in a space as compact as a closet.

On the other hand, gas tankless water heaters are more challenging and expensive to install. If the unit needs venting, that is an additional factor in installation and where it can be placed. A home’s venting and gas lines have to be part of where it’s installed. There may be added costs or work with a gas tankless water heater.

Running Cost

Once it’s up and running, then you have the cost over the life of the system. There’s the energy cost, efficiency, and lifespan of the system.

Usually, electricity rates are less expensive than natural gas, but this can change or be different based on location or lots of other variables. Electric tankless water heaters are very energy efficient, running at an efficiency rating of about 98%.

When natural gas prices go up, the cost of running a gas water heater will rise and there’s not a lot you can do about it.

Water Volume

If you have a smaller household or a family routine with not a lot of hot water usage all at the same time, for instance, think about the morning rush before work and school, an electric tankless water heater puts out about eight gallons of hot water a minute. For larger homes and bigger needs, a gas tankless water heater can put out more hot water per minute.

It’s good to know the temperature of the water coming into the heater can help or hurt the water output in fixtures around the house. The warmer the water is initially, the more output a unit will create.

Fuel Prices

When purchasing a tankless hot water heater, you require to take into consideration the effect of future fuel price changes on electrical and gas devices.
For instance, you require to keep in mind that gas rates change from area to region. And also when gas prices are low, there’s no assurance that they will not increase in the future.


This is another factor leading people to tankless units. Electric tankless heaters need very little maintenance and keep a high efficiency over time.

With a gas-fueled model, it will need regular inspections from a licensed technician who can check and approve its safety. Gas tankless water heaters need cleaning and flushing more often.

The Environment

Electric tankless water heaters are highly energy efficient. They do not directly burn fossil fuels. Gas tankless units have an energy efficiency of about 80%. They do emit gas emissions.

Final Thought

Both electric and gas tankless water heaters work excellently when it comes to performance. How you want to upgrade your home water is up to you. However, if you’re working with a smaller space, an electric system will fit you best. The electric tankless systems are compact enough to fit in small spaces.
An electric tankless water heater additionally calls for minimal maintenance, is easier to install, and is more economical.
Gas systems have better functions, too. Although their installment price is slightly more, the reduced price of gas might make up for it depending on your location and hot water usage. They have a high water output thus it’s often the most effective for large houses.

South End Plumbing specializes in leak repairs and water heater installation, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in tankless water heaters – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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