Electric and gas tankless water heaters are both energy-efficient solutions for having a year-round supply of hot water in your home. But is one a better choice than the other if you live in a region with harsh winters?
Generally speaking, what matters most is selecting a unit that’s the right size to serve your entire home and keeping it set at the right temperature setting (120 F–125 F for residential applications). That said, gas heaters have a slight advantage for cold climates, so this type of tankless water heater may be the more pragmatic choice for your family. Let’s take a closer look.
Your Home’s Tankless Water Heater: Gas vs. Electric
- Gas – Gas tankless water heaters are designed to handle higher heating demands, making them more suitable for cold climates.
- Electric – While electric units have improved over the years, they may struggle to match the heating capacity of gas models, especially in colder regions.
- Gas – The combustion process in gas units is inherently more efficient, contributing to overall energy savings.
- Electric – Electric tankless water heaters are efficient, but their energy consumption may be higher in cold climates due to longer heating times.
- Gas – The installation of gas tankless water heaters can be more complex and may require professional help, potentially leading to higher upfront costs.
- Electric – Electric units are generally easier to install, making them a more cost-effective option initially.
- Gas – Despite higher installation costs, gas tankless water heaters usually have lower operating costs in the long run due to their energy efficiency.
- Electric – While electric units are more affordable upfront, their operating costs may be higher over time, especially in colder climates.
The Best Tankless Water Heater? Gas for Harsh Winter Conditions
- High Flow Rate: Propane and natural gas tankless water heaters boast a higher flow rate, ensuring a consistent supply of hot water even during peak usage times. This is crucial for larger households or homes with multiple bathrooms.
- Quick Heating: The powerful burners in gas units allow for rapid water heating, making them well-suited for cold climates where the incoming water temperature is lower.
- Energy Efficiency: Gas tankless water heaters are generally more energy-efficient than their electric counterparts. This is particularly advantageous in regions where heating demands are high.
- Longevity: Gas units tend to have a longer lifespan compared to electric models. With proper maintenance, a well-installed gas tankless water heater can provide reliable hot water for many years.
To get the most out of your gas water heater in the winter months, here are a couple of pro tips:
- Don’t install your unit outdoors or in an unheated garage; since tankless models do not store any hot water, they can be prone to freezing.
- Do keep it plugged in all winter so that the built-in freeze protection feature works and keeps the water pipes connected to it insulated.
Conclusion: Tankless Water Heaters in Cold Climates
Choosing between gas and electric tankless water heaters for cold climates ultimately depends on your specific needs and budget. Gas models, with their higher heating capacity and efficiency, are often considered the best tankless water heaters for colder regions. However, electric units have their merits, especially when it comes to installation simplicity and upfront costs.
Before making a decision, carefully assess your hot water needs, the climate of your region, and your budget constraints. Additionally, consult with a professional to ensure the proper sizing and installation of the chosen unit. Whether you opt for the power-packed performance of a gas tankless water heater or the simplicity of an electric one, the goal is to enjoy a continuous and efficient supply of hot water, even in the coldest of climates.