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Is a Natural Gas Water Heater a Cheaper Alternative?

Your water heater generates not only hot water, but also the second-largest expense on your utilities bill. Keeping that water the perfect temperature typically accounts for about 18 percent of your bill, according to the Department of Energy, so it’s a great place to start if you’re wanting to reduce your monthly expenses.
Whether you’re up for a new water heater or just wanting to invest in something more energy efficient, there are a number of different water heaters to choose from. Don’t let the selection confuse you: There are only two basic types, gas and electric, and the type of water heater you choose can also play a big part in how much your hot water costs.

Up-Front Costs
There are two costs you’ll have to pay for up front when buying a water heater: the water heater itself and the installation. Typically an electric heater is actually less expensive to purchase than a comparable natural gas water heater, perhaps even by as much as $100. If your home isn’t already set up for a gas water heater, it will also be less expensive to install an electric one, simply because it’s expensive to run the natural gas lines. But don’t let the price tag fool you! Ultimately, what’s more important, the cost to take the water heater home or the cost of running it for the next 10 or 12 years?

Ongoing Costs
The type of water heater you choose will result in your monthly utility bill. Natural gas is a cheap source of energy, which means that a natural gas water heater is relatively inexpensive to run. It can vary depending on where you live, but in general the power to run an electric heater will cost about 1.5 times as much as the natural gas to operate a comparable gas heater. Furthermore, the cost difference to run a gas heater versus an electric one is so great that you’ll likely recoup the difference in purchase price during the first year.

Efficiency
The power source for a natural gas water heater is cheap, making it the less expensive option over the long run, however, gas water heaters are just not as efficient as electric ones. Gas water heaters lose some of their heat because of the necessary venting, whereas electric water heaters don’t have that requirement, consequently they don’t lose any of their heat. When you consider that electric water heaters also take longer to reheat the water after the tank has been depleted and refilled, however, it becomes clear that the efficiency of an electric heater comes at a price: both in cost, and in convenience.

EnergyStar Water Heaters
If you want greater efficiency while still enjoying the cost savings of natural gas, you can always shop for water heaters with the EnergyStar logo. EnergyStar appliances are those that have met certain standards for efficiency and power usage. The label should clearly tell you how much it will cost to run an EnergyStar water heater. Use that information to make a decision that will minimize your energy usage and save you even more money.

Consult the Experts
If searching for the best type of water heater for your household is still overwhelming, or if you want help determining the size and output that will best meet your family’s demands, call your neighborhood plumber. Our experienced technicians will discuss your situation with you, assess your needs, and provide professional advice to ensure you’re happy with your choice. Contact us today at (812) 948-9000, or by scheduling online.

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