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Electric vs. Gas Tankless Water Heater

Is your conventional water heater gasping its last breath? Maybe you’re considering a tankless water heater as a replacement?

You already know tankless water heaters take up less space and reduce your carbon footprint. But you can’t decide between an electric vs. gas tankless water heater because you need more information.

If this sounds familiar, you have found the right place. This article contains all the information you need to know about tankless water heaters.

Electric vs. Gas Tankless Water Heater

Water heaters account for 19.3% of the energy used in a standard Canadian household. On average, Canadians use 75 liters of hot water each day. Daily chores like washing dishes and clothing as well as bathing and showering could not be performed without a water heater.

If you are ready to replace one of the essential appliances in your house, a tankless water heater is an excellent choice. Should you choose gas or electricity to heat the water in your home? Keep reading for information that will point you in the right direction.

Energy Efficiency

Gas and electric tankless water heaters have a few things in common. They both take up far less space than a typical water heater. Tankless water heaters don’t waste energy from standby heat loss like conventional water heaters, and both heaters instantly heat cold water when the tap is turned on.

But tankless heaters are not equal when it comes to energy savings. Energy efficiency is the most significant difference between the two water heaters.

Electric tankless water heaters are 98% more efficient than conventional water heaters, while gas tankless water heaters are approximately 80-85% more efficient. The difference in energy efficiency is one consideration when choosing which water heater to purchase.

Heating Capacity

Overall, a gas tankless water heater is more powerful than an electric heater. A gas tankless water heater warms approximately 19 liters of water to 21 degrees Celsius in a minute. In contrast, an electric one heats an estimated 7.5 liters of water to 21 degrees Celsius in one minute. However, the heating power depends on the unit’s manufacturer, model, and size.

Whichever tankless water heater you choose, these four primary factors determine the heating capacity:

  • square footage of the house
  • the rate at which water flows from the taps
  • how high the water temperature rises
  • number of people in the household

The average tankless water heater supplies a few liters of water per minute. That is enough water for a shower or bath for one person. Additionally, consider the water needed to heat the dishwasher and washing machine.

While an electric tankless may work well for some households, it may not be enough water for others. Choose a gas or electric tankless water heater that meets the needs of the people in your home.

Usage Costs

The cost to run an electric vs. gas no-tank water heater depends on the four factors listed above. Electric tankless water heaters are more expensive to run in terms of monthly costs. A whole-house electric water heater uses 25,000 watts of electricity. An electric conventional water heater uses 5,000 watts.

In comparison, a gas tankless water heater costs less to run, and they heat water faster than electric tankless water heaters. In addition, gas water heaters save on replacement costs because they tend to last longer.

Tankless Water Heater Prices

The initial cost of a tankless water heater is more than a conventional water heater. However, the amount of energy saved by using a tankless heater offsets this expense. Also, the lifespan of tankless heaters is two times greater than traditional water heaters.

Generally, the base price of an electric tankless water heater is less than a gas heater because it has fewer components. However, the exact price depends on where it is purchased and the heater’s design, among other factors.

Electric water heaters with a simple design can cost as little as $700 in some provinces. On the other hand, gas tankless water heaters contain exhaust systems and other components that add to their base price.

Installation Cost

Electric tankless water heaters are about one-third the size of gas heaters. They are installed in a variety of areas in the home. Hallway, kitchen cupboard, and shower cubicle locations are most common because no venting is needed. They generally cost less to install because of their small size and installation flexibility.

In contrast, a gas tankless water heater requires exhaust vents to remove combustion byproducts from a home. Specialized professionals can install the needed tank, but the installation cost is higher if a gas line is installed.

These factors affect the installation costs of both types of water heaters:

  • the region where the tank is installed
  • water heater size and style
  • installation labor charges
  • whether existing pipes or lines are in place


A few issues affect how the two water heaters perform. For instance, electric tankless heaters tend to have more problems with the water flow rate in cold weather, whereas a gas counterpart runs in cold climates without reducing the flow rate.

Bad weather can make a difference in how tankless water heaters perform too.

Gas heaters run if the power goes out, unlike electric heaters. However, electric water heaters require less maintenance and repairs than gas heaters.


Both water heaters need regular maintenance to run efficiently. For instance, they both need regular filter and screen replacements. The heaters also require annual descaling of their burners and other components. Gas and electric tankless water heaters will shut off if limescale and other minerals build up.

Remember that gas water heaters require special maintenance from a certified professional plumbing contractor, and their parts cost more than electric heaters. While electric water heaters also need to be serviced by a professional, maintenance and repairs are easier to troubleshoot than gas tankless water heaters.

Some Like It Hot

Choosing a tankless water heater is a complex process. Electric and gas tankless water heaters are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. While some models are best suited for certain appliances and fixtures, other units are manufactured specifically for outdoor or indoor use.

So how do you decide which tankless water heater to keep your water piping hot?

Contact MT Drains and Plumbing for a free consultation. Our company has serviced satisfied customers in Toronto and the surrounding areas for over 25 years. We offer tankless water heating services to commercial and residential owners. Our certified professional plumbing contractors will ask the right questions to offer the best solutions for your home or business.

Together, we will create a water heating plan ideal for your budget, space, and household dynamic.


Paul S

Paul has more then 20 years in basement waterproofing and plumbing projects experience. Looking for an advice from an expert plumber? Make sure to read Paul's articles about residential waterproofing and plumbing projects in Toronto.

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