Guide to buying an Electric Water Heater
Electric water heaters do not require air for combustion or venting of combustion by-products. They are easy to install in most locations. The electric heating elements convert virtually all of the electricity into heat and because the elements are immersed, all of the heat is transferred to the water. The most important advantage is safety. Gas heaters work by burning up propane and transferring the heat energy to water, and whenever there’s combustion involved, there is a risk of an explosion. Electric heaters are also known to explode from a build-up of pressure, but it is much less common and practically impossible with modern heaters.
What are the benefits of buying an Electric Water Heater?
An electric water heater offers many benefits compared to gas water heaters:
Electric water heaters are more energy efficient because they use less energy to heat water compared to natural gas water heaters.
Electric water heaters can also engage with money-saving options, like time-of-use electricity rates, and even money-generating opportunities, like utility grid-interactive programs, neither of which are available to natural gas water heaters.
Healthier and safer
Replacing the combustion of natural gas with clean electricity for your water heater removes a major potential source of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) from your home.
With SVCE providing carbon-free electricity for your home, switching to an electric water heater cuts nearly 50% of your house’s overall greenhouse gas emissions that otherwise would have occurred with your natural gas water heater.
Things to consider when buying an Electric Water Heater
Look for a Uniform Energy Factor of at least 3.0. This number represents how efficiently the unit operates. The higher the number, the less it will cost to heat water. A UEF of 3.5 or greater is quite common.
A unit rated as Tier 3 indicates a higher level of efficiency and quieter operation than Tiers 1 or 2.
Select a tank of similar size (or larger) than your existing tank. Larger units are typically more efficient, store more hot water, and provide better money-saving opportunities from utility demand response programs and time-of-use rates than their smaller counterparts.
First Hour Rating
First Hour Rating is the calculated amount of water your heater can deliver in an hour of usage. As hot water is used, cold water is added to the tank and heated. Therefore, this number can be larger than the tank capacity and is the best measure for how much consistent hot water your unit can supply in a given hour.
For new construction, all-electric homes cost less to construct and an electric water heater is a key component.
For existing homes, an electric water heater can have a higher upfront cost as the home was likely constructed for natural gas lines, not 220V electrical lines to the water heater location.
In either case, an electric water heater can end up being more cost-effective over the long term, especially when operating using lower-cost, off-peak rates.
Check your main service panel to see if it can handle the added electric load of an electric water heater, typically some units only require 15 Amps. If you’re thinking of cutting your carbon footprint even further with an electric vehicle or switching other gas appliances to electric, you may want to prepare for the future and upgrade your panel now.