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Gas vs Electric Water Heater Comparison Guide

There are many differences between gas and electric water heaters.

Rapid-Rooter has prepared the following side by side comparison that you may find helpful when deciding upon a water heater to buy.


Although an electric appliance may fit in the same location as a gas appliance, the same is not always true for a gas appliance.

Gas–Because of the gas plumbing and the risk of an explosion, gas water heaters require between 6 and 18 inches of empty space below, above, and around the tank.

Electric–These appliances can be installed in cramped spaces such as a closet.

Ventilation and Plumbing Requirements

Electric and gas water heaters have very different ventilation requirements.

Gas–If you are installing a gas water heater, you need to plumb your house or building for a gas line. Part of that plumbing includes a flue that vents the air to the outside. Therefore, you need plumbing that carries the gasses through the walls or roof of your house.

Electric–All you need for this water heater is a special outlet to meet the electrical requirements.

Regardless of the differences, a Rapid-Rooter plumber is qualified to install both types of water heaters when you need one.

First Hour Rating

The first hour rating (FHR) is an indicator of how much hot water is used during the busiest time of the day, usually the first hour in the morning. The rating is based on how fast the water reheats enough to provide hot water when you are using it. You can find the FHR on the yellow EnergyGuide label that is attached to the outside of your appliance.

Gas–These appliances heat quicker.

Electric–These appliances heat slower.

Tank Size

Naturally, the size of tank you require depends on how much water your household uses. However, it also depends upon the first hour rating. For example, you may only need a 40 gallon gas tank but an 80 gallon electric tank because of how much hot water is required at one time. In addition, the tank size may have an impact on the location of your water heater. An 80 gallon tank is much larger than a 40 gallon one and obviously requires more space.

Gas–The water in the tank heats faster which requires a smaller tank.

Electric–The water in the tank takes longer to heat which requires a larger tank.

A Rapid-Rooter plumber can help you determine the size of tank you need by calculating factors such as the number of individuals you have using hot water and the number of bathrooms in your house. Give us a call for more information.

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