Propane vs. Electric Water Heaters

Make the best choice for your Central Connecticut home!

How old is the water heater in your home? If it’s approaching its 10th birthday, the average life expectancy for a water heater, or is older than that, don’t wait any longer to begin planning its replacement.

It’s best to avoid waiting for your water heater to break before finding a replacement. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with a costly cleanup and rush to select a new one. By planning ahead and researching your options, you can feel confident in your choice.

It’s essential to consider the impact of a new water heater on your home’s energy costs when doing your research. Opting for a propane water heater over an electric one can lead to greater long-term savings.

What impacts water heating costs?

Did you know that water heating comprises around 20% of your home’s energy costs, ranking second only after heating and cooling? However, choosing the right water heater can result in significant savings.

When you’re deciding between a propane or electric water heater, consider these points.

Energy factor – You can use the Energy Factor of a water heater to compare the energy efficiency of two different models. The higher the score, the more efficient it is. This metric provides significant insights into a unit’s overall operating cost when compared to other types of appliances.

The Energy Factor number is obtained from a test developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, which takes into account not only the heat loss within the heater and its plumbing, but also how much heat it can send to the water in its tank. The Energy Factor of a propane water heater is often in the range of .5 to .65, whereas electric water heaters have an Energy Factor of around .9.

While the Energy Factor is a helpful metric for calculating a heater’s operating cost, it does not consider the cost of fuel or electricity. Therefore, while the Energy Factor can provide a rough estimate of the operating expenses for your water heater, it is insufficient for obtaining an accurate cost estimate.

Recovery efficiency – The Energy Factor (EF) is a measure used to determine the speed at which a heater can heat water. Generally speaking, propane-powered models have a higher recovery efficiency than electric models. This means that less hot water needs to be kept in storage in order to meet demand. As a result, you may be able to use a smaller tank with propane than you would with an electric model. A smaller tank size will require less energy to maintain a large volume of hot water, which will result in lower operating costs in the long run.

The recovery efficiency determines how long it takes for a tank of water to reheat. Propane has a higher recovery efficiency, which means you won’t have to wait as long between showers. Also, with a propane tankless water heater, you’ll have access to an unlimited supply of hot water whenever you need it, so no more waiting!

Fuel and energy costs – Even though electric water heaters are more efficient, propane water heaters cost less to operate because electricity is more expensive.

You can compare for yourself using the Department of Energy’s simple form that calculates operating costs for water heaters.

Trust Tower Energy to keep you in hot water! Contact us today to learn more about our water heater services. And don’t forget to ask about our Service Plans!