A natural gas water heater is typically the least expensive to maintain. It takes less time to heat the water with natural gas than it does to heat it with electricity or other gases. It also is typically less expensive to use natural gas, according to 2005 data from the Energy Information Administration. Because rates can vary and change, it still is wise to check your area's rates for both, but natural gas often has the better rate.
Electric water heaters may be more convenient to install in a home not equipped for a gas water heater. For instance, this would be typical in a home where it simply is not possible to install a gas water heater by running a pipe from the water heater to the flue in the roof. Generally, an electric water heater would be a last resort when there is no other option available. A local plumber should know which type of water heater is best for your area.
Some water heaters may run on oil, kerosene, propane, or other such resources. Some may even use wood or solar energy. However, these types of water heaters are used far less than gas or electric water heaters. Gas water heaters are used the most, with electric heaters following suit. The others make up a very small percentage.
Did You Know?
A plumber can help you convert your electric water heater into a gas unit. This can save you from buying a whole new unit.