Does a Gas Water Heater Use Electricity

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Will I get to enjoy that hot shower? Yes! Gas water heaters don’t need electricity.

Everybody likes showering in hot water! And it is essential to have hot water running in your house. This is why a water heater comes in handy. Specifically, a gas water heater as it’s the most popular water heating option.

There are many things to consider before buying a water heater; the cost, maintenance, size etc. But the most important factor is which type? And does it rely on electricity?

Choosing the right type of water heater is an important decision and frankly, nobody notices the importance of water heaters until they stop working!

How Does it Work?

To really understand how water heaters work, you need to know the different components of it.

There are many types of gas water heaters which include components such as:

  • the burner, situated underneath the tank.
  • an electronic gas valve, which controls the flow of gas to the unit.
  • And a thermostat, which regulates the temperature and sets it at the desired setpoint.
  • An electronic igniter to ignite the gas.
  • the cold inlet and hot outlet ports, located on the top of the tank, where each port has a shut-off valve.
  • A drain port on the bottom of the tank.
  • and a temperature and pressure-relief valve.

I know this probably sounds complicated, but to put it in simple terms, Hot water is drawn from the top of the tank and replaced with cold water at the bottom, based on the fact that warm water rises.

The main components to understand however are the Electronic Ignition, where only modern gas water heaters have.

And the Standing Pilot, which old gas water heaters have. Modern gas water heaters use an electric igniter to ignite the gas. And old gas water heaters include a pilot light which is always burning. 

Gas vs. Electric Water Heaters

Now to further understand what a gas water heater is, we need to first understand that there are two types of water heaters:

Electric water heaters use heating elements to keep the stored water hot until it’s needed.

Whereas, A gas water heater is a tank that heats water from a gas-fired burner located at the bottom of the tank.

Although the upfront cost is higher for gas water heaters, they are normally cheaper to operate than electric ones. You’ll notice the price difference after 1 year of usage.

Electric Water heaters are more efficient due to the fact that the heat pumps are electrically powered and pull heat from the unit’s surroundings to heat the water.

Unlike Gas water heaters that have a storage unit that keeps water hot at all times, they are less energy efficient, because energy is constantly lost and used up. If not taken proper care of, they can be quite dangerous and life-threatening since they release an odorless gas called carbon monoxide.

Most gas water heaters operate with a pilot light, meaning they heat water even when there is no electricity. And not just that! Even if your gas water heater has an electric pilot, it’ll most likely heat water faster than a typical electric water heater.

So a gas water heater is perfect for homeowners who have frequent power outages and especially if they have a large family since gas water heaters can heat water in an hour unlike electric heaters, which take a few hours to heat the same amount of water.

But do make sure to turn off your gas supply when the power goes out. And they only work if your area has gas availability!

Incase of Power Outage

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

As previously discussed an electric water heater stores hot water, meaning that although the water heater will stop heating the water, the stored hot water could last for a few days while the power is out.

Whereas, for a gas water heater, owners assume that it’ll work during a power outage, because, well, it’s fueled by gas. This is true to an extent but this is dependent on the type of water heater.

As discussed earlier, gas water heaters that have a standing pilot, don’t need electricity as the pilot light burns constantly despite a power outage.

And as for gas heaters which rely on electronic ignition won’t work during a power outage and will only use stored hot water for a few days (same as electric water heaters). 

To sum all of this up, If you notice a power cord plugged into the wall and connected to your gas water heater, then it’s most likely going to work the same as an electric water heater. 

Other Water Heaters

There are other types of water heaters too which use little to no electricity, and are efficient. Here are some examples:


As the name describes it, solar water heaters don’t need electricity, and are solely powered by sunshine…which is free! Meaning it’s cost-effective too. 

Indirect Water Heaters

Indirect water heaters have large water tanks, which enhances the ability to keep water hot for longer, and so this saves electricity.

And due to their large storage capacity, they can also be used to bathe many people. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!


To summarize, gas water heaters typically don’t use electricity as a fuel, unlike electric water heaters. But, the electricity usage depends on the type of water heater.

Basically, if you see a power cord plugged into the wall then it will most likely work for a few days without power.

However, if there isn’t one, then it’ll continue to function properly even during a power outage. Meaning you’ll be able to take that hot water shower! 


  1. I really appreciate you talking about the different kinds of water heaters you can avail of if you want alternate sources of energy. Using too much electricity around here is something we end up having a big problem with in the future since that could cause the bills to go high. As soon as I find a plumber in the area, I’ll ask them to get us a solar water heater for sure since that’ll be a better way to use other resources.

  2. I find it interesting when you said that gas water heaters would be able to work without electricity because of the pilot light they have. That means that we just have to store enough supplies to ensure that the system will work all the time. We should find a gasoline delivery service here in New York to call them easily when we need more sources. Hopefully, we also find those with a reasonable rate to fit into our budget.

  3. Great Article! Thank you for sharing this is very informative post, and looking forward to the latest one.

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