Electric Water Heaters

We all know we spend a lot of money each month on utilities, but we may wonder which appliances use the most fuel. It turns out that, next to heating and cooling, the home's water heater is the biggest drain on the wallet. This is, in part, due to the fact that water must be heated year-round, while the heating and cooling systems for the home need to be used only seasonally.


Residential Electric Water Heaters

Residential water heaters warm the water to between 120 and 140��F, and electric units pull the hot water from the upper tank first. Residential water heater tanks range in size from six to 120 gallons, and most households find that a 50-gallon tank is adequate.

Unlike other types of water heating devices, electric water heaters need no minimum clearance and can, therefore, be placed under a sink or in a closet. There is no pilot light, and no exhaust flue or fuel line to cause potential problems. The cost of operating an electric water heater is usually slightly higher than that of a gas heater.

Gas vs. Electric Water Heaters

As mentioned earlier, electric water heaters do not require a flue for emitting combustion emissions out of the home. This is certainly an advantage. However, many consumer groups recommend purchasing an electric unit only if there is no other option. For example, if it is impossible to run a flue out the roof. Gas water heaters are less expensive to run and are faster at heating a tank of water. So, for efficiency and cost, gas heaters beat electric, but electric water heaters certainly boast of other benefits, such as a long life expectancy and low maintenance.

Purchasing an Electric Water Heater

Be prepared to spend at least a few hundred dollars on an electric water heater. If the unit is no longer under warranty, this does not include the cost of installation of repairs. When considering the purchase of a new electric water heater or simply replacing an old one, be sure to check with the city's utility company first. They may offer a rebate for installing an energy-efficient model.