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The Pros And Cons Of Electric vs Gas Water Heater Replacement | Florence, SC

A hot water heater’s average lifespan is between 8 and 15 years. It’s natural that you will need to consider water heater replacement at some stage. When you start to look into new heaters, one of the main considerations is the fuel source. While most homeowners will choose the same type of heater as they have in the past, it is possible to miss out on the hot water system that suits your home best. We’ve outlined the benefits and drawbacks of the two most popular types in use in Florence, SC: gas water heaters and electric water heaters.

Ease of Use

When it comes to ease of use, an electric water heater replacement is typically more straightforward, in terms of functionality, than a standard gas heater. As the system runs entirely on electricity, there are no extra steps involved, such as igniting the gas pilot light to get it started. Many homeowners find an electric water heater is much easier to operate.

Water Heater Efficiency

Electric heaters are more efficient than their gas counterparts. However, gas hot water heaters can be more affordable to run monthly because of the low cost of natural gas fuel. Despite the lower fuel costs, a gas water heater replacement consumes more energy. Gas heaters are less efficient because the gas byproduct absorbs some generated heat and releases that into the environment.

An electric water heater will use its energy primarily to heat water, and there is less energy lost during the heating process. There are many high-energy efficient gas heaters, which use less energy overall. These heaters will usually be marked Energy Star and be a little more expensive than standard options.

Another consideration is the amount of hot water your water heater replacement can generate in an hour. This is known as the first hour rating (FHR). There are a variety of FHR values for both electric and gas tanks. Higher numbers mean that there will be more water readily available within the first hour of use. Gas heaters heat up quicker than electric heaters so you will often find they have higher FHR values.


Gas water heaters are almost identical in cost to electric. On average, gas water heaters have a higher upfront price. However, the total cost of natural gasses is lower, so you’ll pay a lower monthly utility bill after purchase. An electric water heater replacement will have a lower upfront cost, but a typically higher monthly usage bill.

Maintenance Requirements

Gas heaters need more maintenance than electric heaters. Regular flushing of the heater’s tank will be necessary, regardless of type, to prevent mineral deposits from building up. Gas heaters will also require regular inspections of the gas line to ensure safety and determine if there are any leaks. To ensure your water heater’s longevity, it is recommended that both the fuel line and tank are inspected yearly.

Water Heater Installation

Installation of electric and gas water heaters is simple. However, it can be difficult to change from an electric water heater to a gas water heater replacement. This is because gas lines will have to be run to a new location. This means that you will need to create another vent. This increases both the cost and the timeframe for installation.

Environmental Impact

Electric heaters are, naturally, better for the environment. These heaters are more eco-friendly than traditional heating systems and can be powered by renewable energy sources in Florence, SC.

However, gas water heaters use natural gas that is extracted from the Earth in a destructive and wasteful process. This causes a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Gas heaters are therefore less environmentally friendly overall.


Two factors impact how effective your water heater replacement will be: size and capacity. A tank’s capacity is typically measured in gallons. A tank with a large gallon capacity will be larger in general. Both gas and electric heaters are available in a variety of sizes, with most residential water heaters ranging from 20 to 100 gallon capacity. Point of origin heaters can also be purchased in electric heater form. These small heaters can be installed at the faucet to provide hot water when you need it.

Typically, an electric hot water heater will take up less space in your basement or utility room than a gas water heater. Gas heaters must vent, so they are larger around and have pipes that will need to leave your home. This restricts their placement. You have more placement options with electric heaters because they are smaller and there’s no need for exterior vents.

Safety Concerns

With a gas water heater replacement, you are at risk of having a gas line leak or appliance leak in your home if the heater is improperly installed or maintained. You are also at greater risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. You can prevent these problems from happening, by maintaining the vent, ductwork, and conducting regular inspections of the gas line. There are fewer safety concerns with electric heaters.

Electric Water Heater: The Pros and Cons


  • Clean operation
  • Secure
  • Heat water efficiently
  • Reduced upfront cost
  • Large range of sizes
  • Never requires relighting (no pilot light)
  • Easier to hook up due to easily accessible power source


  • Higher operating costs
  • Electric models heat water slower than gas models
  • Recovery times are longer
  • Will not work during power outages

Gas Water Heater: The Pros and Cons


  • Heat water quickly
  • Lower operating costs
  • Modern gas heaters are energy efficient
  • Continues operating during electrical outages


  • Some Florence, SC, homes might not have gas supply lines
  • Electric models are safer
  • Dirtier operation
  • Small range of capacities
  • Gas heaters have a shorter life expectancy
  • Water heating is less efficient
  • Sometimes, it is necessary to relight the pilot flame

No matter which water heater replacement type you decide to purchase, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Florence is here for you. Whether you’re considering an upgrade or need an imminent replacement, call us to find out more about our heater replacement services.

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