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Gas vs. Electric Water Heaters

electric vs. natural gas icon comparison graphic
December 5, 2022

Did you know that water heaters are the second-largest expense in a home, behind heating and cooling? You may not think about your water heater often, but the type of water heater you have and its operating efficiency make a big difference in your monthly energy bills.

If your water heater is getting old, you may be thinking about replacing or upgrading and wondering if it’s worth switching from a gas water heater to an electric model, like a heat pump water heater. Today, we’re going to compare some of the different types of water heaters available and help you make the right decision for your Sacramento home.

Comparing Gas and Electric Water Heaters

How They Work

Traditional gas water heaters use combustion heating to warm the water in your storage tank, while electric models use electricity. Heat pump hot water heaters are also all-electric, but they utilize the same heat pump technology as heat pump HVAC units, like mini-splits, to efficiently draw heat from the surrounding air to warm water.


Electric water heaters, on average, are much more energy efficient than traditional gas models. ENERGY STAR-rated electric heat pump water heater models, for example, are ultra-efficient—they use 70% less energy than a standard model!

Installation costs

Resistance gas water heaters are slightly more expensive to buy and install than electric models. However, heat pump water heaters will be slightly more than a traditional gas water heater to install.

Operating costs

In California, natural gas resistance water heaters cost less to run every month compared to electric hot water heaters. When it comes to heat pump water heater models, these could run more expensive unless you’re in an area that offers incentives. For SMUD and Roseville electric customers, the cost to heat water with a heat pump water heater compared to gas is typically half the cost! 


Many electric water heaters, like heat pump water heaters, are so efficient that they qualify for energy efficiency rebates and other incentives. Currently, utilities like SMUD, Roseville Electric, and PG&E offer anywhere from $300-$3,000 in heat pump water heater rebates!


The average gas water heater will last 8-10 years; the average electric water heater lasts 12-15.


Because gas water heaters use combustion heating, homeowners are at risk of dangerous carbon monoxide leaks. Electric water heaters don’t have this risk!

Home Electrification

This one is obvious, but worth pointing out: If you’re looking to electrify your home, move away from fossil fuels, and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, gas water heaters are a non-starter!

The Benefits of Switching to an Electric Water Heater

  • Greater energy efficiency

  • Safer operation

  • Reduces fossil fuel use in your home

  • High-efficiency models qualify for incentives and energy rebates

  • Longer lifespan

  • Helps you electrify your home

Find the Best Hot Water Heater for Your Home with Brower Mechanical

With all the different options available, it can be frustrating to compare water heaters yourself. But Brower Mechanical can help!

With more than four decades of experience serving the greater Sacramento area, including Elk Grove, Rocklin, and Yuba City, our team of whole home professionals offers high-quality water heater installation services, with a variety of models to choose from. We can even help you navigate the many California energy rebates available to ensure that you maximize your savings when upgrading your home!

Need help choosing a water heater for your home? Call (916) 624-0808 or contact Brower today for expert advice from a local contractor you can trust.

Save energy and electrify your home!

Brower can help with water heater upgrades.

(916) 624-0808

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