Gas Water Heaters
Gas Water Heaters
Benefits of Using a Gas Water Heater
The benefits of using a gas water heater outnumber using an electric version for several reasons. For starters, the overall operating cost of a gas water heater is less than electric. They’re convenient because they don’t require a 220vac outlet, which means you won’t have the expense of running a new dedicated electric power line for the water heater.
Efficiency is another advantage because of the amount of energy required to heat water to the set temperature. Gas is faster, and recovery time is about twice as fast as electric models. Thanks to a heavily insulated tank, the water stays hotter longer which keeps costs down. We’ll look at these benefits and more in detail here.
Benefits of Natural Gas
Aside from its lower operating cost, a natural gas water heater is always more reliable than electricity. For example, if you lose power, which everyone can relate to, the gas supply stands ready to go at all times. If you have a conventional gas water heater with a thermocouple without an electric ignitor, the water heater works just fine without electricity. That’s not the case with electric water heaters.
It’s common to wait for several hours or even days before electric power gets restored. By that time, much damage may have already occurred. Not so with natural gas. With a conventional gas unit, the pilot remains lit continuously until the next heating cycle and beyond. If you remove the cover from the water heater and look through the view window and see the blue flame of the pilot, you know everything is working and without an external power source.
But how can a gas heater work without AC power?
The Piezoelectric Switch
Today, many gas water heaters use a piezoelectric (piezo) switch to produce bursts of electrical power sufficient to ignite the thermocouple. Compare that to the days not so long ago when a match was the only choice.
Aside from the regulator and gas line connection, the piezo switch contains materials that produce enough energy to create a spark when placed under enough stress or pressure. The push-button switch usually sits next to the rotating dial used to select off, on, or pilot light. Press and hold the pilot light button while pushing the piezo switch. You’ll hear or see the pilot start.
Maintain pressure on the pilot button for about 30-45 seconds and check if the pilot stays lit. If the pilot stays lit, you’re good to go. The process takes under a minute to complete. Now, adjust the desired temperature of the heated water and watch for the large flame through the viewing window to confirm the operation. Some gas heaters come equipped with automatic switches that ignite the burner directly when needed.
Long-Term Cost Savings & Cleaner Water
The difference of the higher initial cost of buying a new gas water heater compared to a comparable electric model will pay for itself in about a year because of the dramatic savings from using the gas model. Operating costs for a gas water heater are about one-half of those for an electric version.
Recommended by most manufacturers is full insulation of the heater and all connecting pipes, etc., to make operating costs as low as possible.
Because a tankless water heater won’t have a buildup of rust or hard mineral deposits, the water passing through and delivered to its destination remains cleaner. The water in older storage tank water heaters sometimes contains contaminants from years of use that cause problems with drinking water and bathing.
In the final consideration, gas-fired condensing tankless water heaters cost less to operate and supply ample hot water at a rate that will keep up with demand and have a higher efficiency rating than non-condensing units. It’s always most important to install the appropriate size water heater for the given application to maximize efficiency and minimize operating costs.