Of course, electric tankless heaters aren’t the only game in town. Gas and propane tankless water heaters provide many of the same benefits in a different fuel format.
How much money can I save by using gas vs electricity?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends upon specific features of your home and location.
Both gas and electric tankless heaters need large power supplies that often mean making adaptions to your wiring or piping. Most natural gas heaters need 3/4 inch gas pipes, while propane heaters require large tanks installed outside, and electric heaters need multiple large circuit breakers.
Upgrading gas or electricity hardware can be expensive, so if your home is already set up for any of these applications, it’s not cost-efficient to switch to another fuel.
The same generally goes for switching fuel in general. Changing from a traditional gas heater to an electric tankless or vice versa will cause extra expenses that can take many years to offset.
More practically, you can make immediate savings on an electric heater over gas thanks to a significant difference in base prices. On average, an electric unit can be several hundred dollars cheaper than an equivalent gas heater.
Most parts of the country enjoy cheaper gas rates than electricity, so when it comes to month-to-month costs, gas heaters tend to win out. However, gas heaters also require more frequent servicing and can encounter more complex issues and repairs.
Add all these factors to the fact that fuel prices continue to become more volatile, and it becomes hard to make general statements about the cost-efficiency of one heater type over the other.
Many experts claim that the costs of each fuel type tend to equal out over the lifespan of a heater, which the department of energy puts at around two decades. If you’re installing a heater in a new home, we recommend a tankless electric unit.
How much electricity do gas tankless heaters use?
Both natural gas and propane heaters still need to be connected to a 120V outlet. This is because they contain flow sensors and microprocessors, and may also have electronic ignitions.
However, the amount of electricity used by most gas heaters is very small, comparable to any other standard electronic appliance such as a TV or lamp. If a gas heater is fitted with extra features like anti-freeze protection, then it will draw substantially more.
Check out our longer comparison article for a wider look at the similarities and differences between gas and electric tankless water heaters—especially if you’re trying to decide between the two.