How to Convert Gas Water Heater to Electric – Everything You Need to Know

If your gas heater is nearing the end of its life cycle, you are likely weighing out your options for a new one. Looking at the prices of new water heaters, you may be considering making the switch from a gas water heater to an electric heater, as new gas ones can certainly be expensive. But is that even possible? If it is, can you learn how to convert gas water heater to electric yourself?

If you want to learn how to convert gas water heater to electric, read on for everything you need to know!

operational gas water heater

Can You Switch a Gas Water Heater to Electric?

You can! If you are looking to replace the whole unit anyway, you can switch from a gas heater to an electric one. You will need to be comfortable connecting electrical wires and disconnecting gas lines to do the conversion though, so if you are not, consider hiring a professional. But if you are, it is not an especially difficult process.

Read on for our list of step-by-step instructions that outline how to convert gas water heater to electric.

How to Convert Gas Water Heater to Electric Water Heater

Step 1: Check the electrical circuit breaker panel and run wire to the water heater closet

Make sure your electric circuit breaker panel has enough power for the water heater. If it does, run an electrical wire from the panel underneath your house and up into the closet. The wiring needs to be connected to a double 30-amp fuse and be at least 10 gauge.

Step 2: Turn off water and gas, then drain

Turn off both the gas and water and then drain your hot water heater using a garden hose. You can help it drain by lifting the lever on the pressure relief valve.

Step 3: Disconnect gas line, vent, and chimney

You can just remove the gas line completely if you are not going to be using it anymore. If you just want to disconnect it, though, make sure to cap the open end. When disconnecting the chimney, you can remove it entirely and patch the roof or just pack it with fiberglass insulation.

Step 4: Cut old waterlines, then remove the heater

Plan on installing new waterlines, as the old ones should not be reused with the cut ends. You can now remove your old gas water heater.

Step 5: Install access door

Install an access store for your water shut-off valve outside the closet by cutting an opening in the wall.

Step 6: Install main water shut off

You may need to reposition the waterlines to the side of the closet. Install the main water shut-off in front of your new access door.

Step 7: Remove the gas line

If you have not already removed it, go underneath your house to move the gas line.

Step 8: Seal holes

Make sure all the holes left in the floor are sealed to prevent pests from entering the closet.

Step 9: Install fittings of new water heater, then connect

These fittings hook to connect the heater to the waterlines. Put the water heater into the closet and attach the waterlines with their shutoffs.

Step 10: Turn on and fill

First, fill the storage tank with water and make sure there are no leaks. Only when your heater is full should you connect the electricity and turn on the power. If you like, you can add a leak detector.

convert gas water heater to electric water heater

How Much Does It Cost to Convert Gas Water Heater to Electric?

Generally, when converting from a gas to electric water heater, it will cost about $200-$500+. This cost is mostly due to the need to run a new electrical circuit, as electric heaters need their own dedicated one.

Is It Cheaper to Heat Water with Gas or Electric?

Generally, it is cheaper to heat water with gas. However, this depends on natural gas prices in your area. Also, note that gas water heaters typically cost $100 to $200 more than electrical water heaters upfront.

Is s Gas Water Heater Better than an Electric?

Not necessarily. Both gas water heaters and electric water heaters have their own sets of pros and cons, so if you have the hookups for both, it can really come down to personal preference.

Gas water heaters are better if you are looking for a heater with low monthly costs, quick water heating capabilities, and the ability to use it during a power outage. The downsides of gas water heaters include that they do have higher upfront costs, they tend to require more maintenance, have safety concerns, and a gas unit is not particularly energy-efficient.

Electric water heaters are a better choice for you if you like that they have low upfront costs, generally require less maintenance, are energy efficient, and do not have any safety concerns. However, electric water heaters do have higher monthly costs, may not heat the water as quickly, and will not work in a power outage.

Are New Electric Water Heaters More Efficient?

Due to federal regulations, new electric water heaters are required to be more energy efficient. Depending on the type you choose, some are more efficient than others.

Storage water heater or a tank water heater are the most common type, and as the name suggests, they store hot water until it is ready to use.

A tankless water heater is more energy-efficient and energy saving than storage heaters, as a tankless unit only heat water on-demand. But due to this, a tankless heater can only offer a limited flow of water per minute.

Heat pump water heaters use about 60% less energy than traditional water heaters. However, they cost more, need a lot of space, and a nearby drain to discharge water.

Does Water Heater Use a Lot of Electricity?

This does depend a bit on the type of water heater, the temperature you set the thermostat to, and how much water you use each day.

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