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Gas vs electrical hot water systems: finding the best fit for your property

As a general overview, gas hot water systems are more expensive to install than electric systems but are cheaper to run overtime. Gas hot water systems are also a more environmentally friendly alternative than electric systems because they generate fewer greenhouse emissions. This is how they both usually operate:

Electric hot water system

An electric hot water system is usually a tank that heats water with high-voltage electric heating rods that run vertically through the tank. Water is heated starting at the centre of the tank, radiating outward.

Gas hot water system

A gas hot water system is a tank that heats water from a gas-fired burner located at the bottom of the tank. Hot water starts at the bottom and rises upward, where it is drawn off the top by a discharge tube.

Electric hot water system pros and cons:


  • Clean operation
  • Safe
  • Heats water efficiently
  • Lower purchase price
  • Wide range of sizes
  • Never needs relighting (no pilot light)
  • Easier installation since all homes have electric service


  • Higher operating costs
  • Slower to heat water than gas models
  • Longer recovery times
  • Will not operate during power failure

Gas hot water system pros and cons:


  • Heats water quickly
  • Lower operating costs than with electric models
  • Energy efficient
  • Operates during power failures


  • Not all homes have gas; might need to be added
  • Less safe than electric models
  • Dirtier operation
  • Smaller range of sizes
  • Shorter lifespan than electric
  • Less efficient heating of water than electric
  • Relighting sometimes required

Things to consider when choosing between gas and electric hot water systems:

Think about where you live, your climate and your family size. How you use your water and how many people are in need of using hot water at one time is also important. What energy sources are available? Is gas already available at your property or do you need to have it installed? How much space do you have for your hot water system? And what’s your budget for your hot water unit and the installation cost?

Newman & Barker Plumbing services the areas across Campbelltown, Camden and Wollondilly. Contact our friendly team on (02) 4625 5409 to discuss your hot water options, or contact us here.

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