Gas vs Electric Hot Water Boiler Systems

A boiler.

If you're thinking about what sort of boiler to purchase to heat water in your home, you will have to choose between a gas boiler and an electric hot water boiler. To make the best decision possible, you should learn as much as you can about each type of boiler.

Once you know the particular advantages and disadvantages that each provides, you can make a decision that best fits your needs. While neither boiler type is objectively better than the other, they both have features that are superior under different circumstances. What follows should provide you with enough information to determine which type of boiler is right for you.

Cost - Setup and Bills

At first glance, gas boilers seem to be the superior choice when it comes to cost. Running a gas boiler to heat a home is much cheaper than running an electric boiler that provides the same amount of heat. With a gas boiler, your energy bills will be lower.

However, gas prices are volatile and will get more expensive, particularly in the long term. Because gas boilers last for a long time, the long term price of gas is something to consider. Additionally, gas furnaces cost more to set up than electric ones. While gas furnaces pay for themselves in the long term, it is possible that the increased up-front cost for the unit and its installation will cause you problems.

Fuel Availability

Gas is not available everywhere. Most locations will have a gas line, but if your home is isolated you may not have access to one. While this may be a point in favor of electric boilers, your location will never prevent you from choosing a gas boiler if you prefer it. In locations where gas is not available, you can still run a gas boiler, using deliveries of propane. However, this may prove inconvenient.

Waste Products

Using gas to power your boiler will lead to exhaust. Unless you have your own source of clean electricity, your electric boiler will be powered by a power plant that burns fossil fuels just like your gas boiler. The exhaust from your gas boiler can be an inconvenience. Gas boilers require a flue to vent exhaust outside. If you cannot vent exhaust outside, you cannot use a gas boiler, and must choose an electric boiler instead.

Surprisingly, a gas boiler will usually be more user-friendly than its electrical equivalent. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, and the power plant that powers your electrical boiler is probably getting its energy from a dirtier fuel.

Size of the Unit

The absolute smallest type of boiler is a tankless electric heater. If your primary concern is space, this is the model for you.

Everyday Performance

In terms of everyday use, both an electric hot water boiler and its gas equivalent will do the job perfectly well. The notable difference between the boilers, however, is that an electric boiler will heat water much more quickly than a gas boiler.