Does A Gas Water Heater Need Electricity? How Does It Work?

does a gas heater need electricity

These days, most people are attached to their water heaters. They would rather die than take a cold shower. This is why water heaters are so common. But water heaters are electric appliances. What happens when a blackout occurs? Naturally, an electric water heater will stop working. But what about gas water heaters? Can they work without a conventional power source?

Does A Gas Water Heater Need Electricity?

In the pilot controlled gas heater, the gas pilot light will continue to run in the absence of electricity. In the case of gas heaters with electric ignition, once a power outage occurs, the water in the tank will remain hot for a little while. But once it cools, you have no way of heating it again until the power returns.

Pilot-controlled gas heaters are convenient because they are reliable. They use a continuous gas pilot light. The pilot light will heat the water regardless of whether you have power or not. Thus, hot water is always available.

Gas heaters with an electric ignition control are fascinating because they are genuine gas heaters. They use gas to heat the water. However, they rely on electricity to ignite the heating system.

You can see that some gas heaters have tanks. For the most part, they look just like traditional electric heaters. But they use a pilot light to heat the water.

If you have a tank-style electric gas heater, the water in the tank will remain hot for a few hours. But you can’t reheat it without electricity. If you have a pilot light-controlled heater, the heater will continue to work during a power outage. The blackout won’t stop you from taking a hot shower.

The tankless heater doesn’t have the same advantage. On the one hand, tankless heaters are convenient. They are compact and easy to install. They also do not require as much maintenance and repair as traditional gas heaters.

Because they don’t have a tank, you don’t have to wait for the water to heat up. The heating system heats the water instantly. Therefore, people with tankless heaters can shower at a moment’s notice.

However, if something goes wrong and the tankless heater stops working, you don’t have a temporary reservoir of hot water to use for the next few hours. On-demand gas heaters of this sort have a control panel that uses electricity. In other words, they cannot work during a blackout.

If you’re struggling to determine whether or not your gas water heater runs on electricity, look for a power cord. A gas heater with a power cord that connects to your home’s circuit relies on electricity. It won’t work during a blackout.

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Can You Run A Gas Water Heater Without Electricity?

Water heaters that use a continuous pilot light keep the water hot. You can run the water heater by turning the gas on and then lighting the pilot light with any fire source you have on hand.

Electric controlled gas water heaters don’t have this function. They use an electric component to ignite the heating system. The heaters rely on gas to heat the water. But that electric component at the start prevents the heater from running during a blackout.

Simply put, you can run a pilot light-controlled gas water heater without electricity but not a gas water heater with an electric ignition system.

Gas heaters that cannot run without electricity are easy to spot because they have elements such as circuit boards, relays, blower motors, and thermostats that clearly use electricity.

How Does Gas Water Heater Work Without Electricity?

Tank-type gas heaters have a tank with a gas burner beneath and a water supply line that continuously pours water into the tank. The water is cold when it enters the tank. Once you light the pilot light, the gas burner at the bottom will heat the water. The temperature in the tank will gradually climb until the water is hot enough for you to use.

Gas heaters of this sort have gas regulators on the side of the appliance that works with the thermostat to track the temperature of the water.

The thermostat controls the heat. It can switch the gas burner ON and OFF. You can also use the thermostat to set the temperature.

Tankless gas heaters do not work the same way as tank-style gas heaters. They have heat exchangers, devices that spread the heat the gas burner has generated to warm the water in the pipe.

With tankless types, you have constant hot water, at least until the power goes. Some tank-style gas heaters have a pilot light that an electric component must ignite.

However, once you ignite the pilot light, it will burn continuously without a conventional power source. Of course, if the pilot light goes out, you have to wait for the electricity to return to ignite it once more.

Is It Better To Use Water Heater With Or Without Electricity?

Gas water heaters save you more money in the long term. In an average home, you may spend $36 a month on a gas heater instead of $46 on an electric gas heater. Additionally, you can’t run electric gas heaters during a blackout.

In the beginning, gas water heaters with electric components are cheaper than gas heaters that don’t use electricity. You can install one for $1000 as opposed to the $3000 it may cost to install a gas water heater.

You are more likely to find electric ignition-controlled water heaters than pilot light-controlled water heaters in the conventional home.

However, the difference in long-term costs is more significant for people with powerful electric gas heaters. Keep this in mind before you buy an electric gas heater. Yes, they are cheaper. But you will spend more money operating them. You can’t save money with an electric gas heater.

Do Gas Water Heaters Have Batteries?

Gas water heaters don’t have batteries.

This video answers this question. They show a gas water heater with a control panel that looks like it requires electricity to run. You see panels of this sort on electric gas heaters.

But those panels use electricity, which is why electric gas heaters are typically plugged into the wall. That is not the case with gas water heaters. They have a thermocouple that turns heat into electricity.

The thermocouple has a long shaft that sits in the water heater. It uses the heat from the pilot light to generate electricity, which is transmitted to the circuitry in the control panel via a brass tube.

The thermocouple produces small amounts of electricity, but the control panel’s electrical requirements are small. Therefore, gas water heaters don’t need batteries.

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