Electric hot water heaters are arguably the most common type of water heater in residential homes and businesses. They’re relatively cost-effective, easy to maintain, and last a long time. Here’s what to know about how they work and where to get reliable electric hot water heater installation and repair.

How Electric Hot Water Heaters Work

Both tank and tankless water heaters can be electric. Tankless heaters work by using electricity to instantly heat water as it passes through thin tubing between the heater and the exit point. This provides hot water on demand that never runs out.

An electric water heater with a tank has rods in the center that heat cold water as it fills the tank. The rods will turn on and off as needed to keep the water at the set temperature and when depleted, the tank fills again.

Pros & Cons Of Electric Hot Water Heaters

There are several benefits to having a hot water heater that uses electricity, like:

  • They don’t burn fossil fuels. Gas hot water heaters require natural gas or propane to operate, which can be risky in terms of toxic leaks and possible fires or explosions.
  • They won’t run out of gas. You won’t need to have your propane tank filled every year so you can use your heater. And, there’s no risk of running out of gas mid-winter and having no hot water.
  • Low upfront costs. Electric water heaters are usually the cheapest to have installed versus gas and tankless hot water heaters.

However, you should also consider their drawbacks before investing in one:

  • They take a long time to heat up. Gas water heaters recover twice as fast as electric models when depleted and tankless heaters never need to recover. Of all the available types of hot water heaters, electric ones take the longest to heat your water.
  • You won’t have hot water if your electricity goes out. Any time your power goes out, you will lose access to your hot water if you have an electric water heater. But a backup generator can resolve this issue. 
  • Higher operating costs. Even though electric water heaters are cheaper to install, they cost more to operate over time than gas hot water heaters.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Electric Hot Water Heaters

What’s the best temp setting for an electric water heater?

In most cases, 120 degrees Fahrenheit is an ideal setting for residential electric hot water heaters. The highest you want to set your water heater thermostat is 130 degrees – any higher and you’re at risk for burns.

Even washing your hands is dangerous with a thermostat set that high if you aren’t able to mix the superheated water with cool water quickly enough.

Can turning down the temperature on my electric hot water heater save money?

Turning down the thermostat on your electric water heater can help you trim your energy costs a little, but don’t expect it to do wonders. But this may also help your heater to last longer, since the heating elements won’t have to get as hot for as long.

How much electricity does an electric hot water heater use?

Electric water heaters consume a lot of energy compared to other appliances in your home. Hot water is necessary for nearly every household task, from washing dishes and clothes to bathing or showering. This puts a lot of mileage on your water heater.

The Department of Energy estimates that the average household spends between $400 and $600 per year – or 14% to 18% of their total energy bill – on heating their water for these necessary tasks. Choosing an energy-efficient model can help cut the cost.

Do I have to clean my electric hot water heater?

All water heaters need to be flushed every 6 months to remove built-up sediment and debris caused by minerals in your water. If you have very hard water, you may need to do this more often or as recommended by your home contractor.

N.E.T.R., Inc. – Your Boston Hot Water Heater Professionals

At N.E.T.R., Inc., we know how integral your hot water heater is to everything you do at home. We offer a variety of installation, maintenance, and repair services for electric water heaters to help you make sure your family always has access to the hot water you need, when you need it.

Contact our office today by calling (781) 933-6387 or fill out our short online form and one of our experienced contractors will get in touch to answer your important questions.


Contact us today to learn more about Electric Hot Water Heaters in Boston and how N.E.T.R., Inc. can make sure you have affordable, reliable, and energy-efficient hot water when you need it. Call now by dialing (781) 933-6387.

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