Before you replace your gas water heater, consider converting it to electric. Since 2019, cities such as Berkeley, San Francisco, and New York have banned gas stoves and water heaters in new construction, in an effort to minimize the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
In April 2021, the White House proposed a wide-ranging plan to help families upgrade their appliances from gas power to energy-efficient electric. More information is available on the White House website. The eventual goal is to phase out virtually all fossil fuel use from home appliances to industrial installations.
Advantages of Electric Hot Water Heaters
Aside from eliminating greenhouse emissions, electric water heaters:
- Are less expensive than gas to purchase, maintain and install
- Are more energy efficient than gas storage units
- Use renewable energy
- Last longer
- Can be installed by the customer
- Do not require a vent through the roof
- Are available for use as point-of-origin warmers
- Take up less space than gas heaters
- Will not explode or produce carbon monoxide or gas leaks
Converting from Gas to Electric
Despite being more expensive to purchase, gas water heaters today cost less to run than those powered by electricity. However, with fossil fuels under fire, it’s not certain that this will continue to be the case. Regardless, it may be better to stay ahead of the curve knowing that fossil fuels will eventually be eliminated.
While converting from electric to gas requires a complex installation, converting from gas to electric is a relatively simple matter for an experienced DIYer following these steps:
- Check your electric panel for sufficient capacity. Upgrade if necessary
- Shut off gas and water. Drain heater, disconnect gas line and vent
- Cut waterlines, pull heater, and prepare closet
- Install necessary fittings to hook waterlines to the new heater
- Place water heater and connect water lines
- Add a leak detector for peace of mind
Keep in mind that DIY is not for everyone! Your plumbing professionals are always available to remove your old water heater and install your new unit.