Do Gas Water Heaters Use Electricity?

Written on: March 4, 2024

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water heater Millbrook, NY As homeowners, understanding the appliances in our homes is essential to both our comfort and our wallets. One common question is whether propane gas water heaters require electricity.

Kimlin Energy provides expert installation and service of propane water heaters, both conventional storage tank heaters and high-efficiency propane tankless water heaters.

Let’s dive into the mechanics of propane water heaters, their comparison to electric models, and explains how they fit into your home’s energy system.

How propane water heaters work

Propane water heaters generate heat through the combustion of propane. The burning gas heats a metal heat exchanger, and this warmth is transferred to the water in the tank. As the water at the bottom of the tank heats up, it naturally rises through the tank, which then circulates warm water throughout your home.

With a propane tankless water heater, water enters directly from your home’s water line and, when hot water is needed, is instantly heated by a propane-fired heating element. It is then sent to where it is needed in your home. Tankless water heaters only work on-demand, which can dramatically lower your water heating energy costs.

Key components of a propane water heater include the gas burner, the heat exchanger, the water storage tank, thermostat controls, and, in some models, a small electric-powered igniter.

Propane vs. electric water heaters

The primary difference is their heat source—one uses propane, the other uses electricity. This difference affects installation, operation costs, and maintenance.

Propane water heaters typically offer lower operational costs but they may have higher installation costs and need more maintenance. Electric water heaters are usually cheaper to install and require less maintenance, but depending on electricity costs, they can be more expensive to run.

Most conventional tank-style propane water heaters use a pilot light to combust the gas; however, some newer models use an electronic ignition system. These systems do require a minimal amount of electricity but considerably less than what a full electric water heater would use.

Many modern propane water heaters come with electronic ignition systems, which means they require electricity to ignite the burner. There may also be other components, such as power venting fans or electronic thermostats, that will use electricity.

Installation and maintenance

Proper installation is crucial for safety and efficiency of your new propane water heater. Always refer to local codes and regulations and consider hiring a professional. Regular maintenance includes checking the venting system, inspecting the pilot light or ignition system, and flushing the tank to remove sediment.

When it comes to propane appliances, safety should always be the top priority. It is crucial to ensure proper ventilation to prevent any potential hazards. Additionally, it is highly recommended to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home for added safety measures. Remember to carefully follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and adhere to local codes and regulations for the safe operation of propane appliances. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of propane while keeping your home and loved ones safe.

To summarize, while most propane water heaters use a small amount of electricity, their consumption is significantly less than that of electric water heaters. Homeowners should weigh the initial installation costs, ongoing operating costs, maintenance, and safety factors when choosing the right water heater for their home. Proper knowledge and maintenance of your water heater can lead to a safe, efficient, and cost-effective solution for your hot water needs.

Contact Kimlin Energy to get started on adding a new, energy-efficient propane gas water heater to your home!