Many times when a home inspection client is buying a home with an electric water heater, they ask “how much does it cost to run an electric water heater?”. And that is a valid question. If we are buying a home, we are likely trying to figure out what our cost will be each month. So how do we answer that question? Let’s take a look.
First, It comes down to usage. It may cost more or less than everyone else depending on your usage. So if you have 4 people and a 30 gal electric water heater, then it will obviously cost you more. Also, teenagers and older children tend to use more hot water than other demographics (anyone who has children does not really need a home inspection blog to tell them that teenagers use a lot of water… but still worth mentioning).
Also, consider fuel alternatives. For instance, if you have natural gas available, it will likely be MUCH cheaper to switch. Whereas if you have oil or wood as an alternative fuel source, sometimes the cost of installation of a new water heater is not worth it.
When it comes down to it, the best thing to do is look at the energy stickers. They will give you an approximate usage amount. For most gas water heaters that are relatively efficient, it is somewhere between $250 -$300 per year (for a 40 gal tank). An electric water heater in the same size and circumstance will be about double or more – about $500 +.
So while not the cheapest fuel for water heaters, it is not the worst ever either. Questions? Contact me!