Gas Vs Electric Water Heater Monthly Cost Comparison (State-By-State)

Every time we talk about water heating costs, we come across the question “Electric vs gas water heater cost; which is cheaper?”. It’s pretty much unavoidable. To put the debate if it is cheaper to heat water with gas or electricity to rest, we have made a full comparison of yearly and monthly gas vs electric water heater costs.

electric vs gas water heater monthly cost averages
This dilemma – should I buy an electric or gas water heater – usually comes down to how much are the monthly water heating bills with a gas vs electric unit.

How to definitely say that households that use either gas water heating pay lower bills than households that use electric water heaters?

We have to look at the data. We can’t just go by an individual household saying “Well, I get a $20 monthly water heating bill because I use gas. Electric heater would probably be $30+ per month”. That’s just one household.

To adequately calculate the yearly gas vs electric water heater costs, we need to look at all the water heating bills paid across the US. And, luckily, we actually have this data. Namely, the US Energy Information Administration releases Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) data. This includes, among numerous other data, all the water heating bills paid in the US by 118.2 million households (the latest RECS datasets).

monthly gas bill vs electric bill for heating water
RECS data uses our utility bills to determine the total and average energy consumption and cost (including water heating expenditures).

Based on this data, we will look into how much do households with gas water heaters pay for heating water, and how much do households with electric water heaters pay for heating water. We will compare the gas vs electric monthly water heater costs state-by-state since the financial viability of gas vs electric water heating depends heavily on the price of natural gas and electricity, and this differs state by state.

Note: We are not talking about the gas vs electric water heater environmental impact. We are simply calculating the financial viability for either gas or electric water heating. It’s about the water heating bill, not the planet.

Let’s take a structured approach here. Here is the breakdown that will give us a definitive answer as far as the fuel choice for water heating is concerned:

  1. First, we will look at the average US yearly water heating costs by fuel (gas, electricity, propane, fuel oil/kerosene) and look at gas vs electric water heating costs for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6-family homes.
  2. Then we will compare the yearly electric vs gas heating bills state-by-state. You will see if households with electric water heaters pay more for water heating than households with gas water heaters (we take average water heater yearly bills from US regions provided by RECS datasets).
  3. Finally, we are going to calculate the electric vs gas water heating monthly cost state-by-state. With this, you will have a look into how much per month you should be paying for water heating in your state.

Let’s start with the water heating cost statistics that we find in the government’s RECS datasets:

US Average Water Heating Costs For 118.2 Million Households

According to the latest RECS datasets available here (we are pulling this data), there are 118.2 million households in the US. Collectively, we pay $34.89 billion annually just for water heating.

Here is the breakdown of how many households have gas vs how many have electric heating, and how much we pay for heating water:

  • 40.9 million households (34.6%) use electricity for heating water (electric boilers, tankless electric water heaters). Collectively, these households pay $21.02 billion in water heating bills annually. On average, that comes to $381/year per household (or $31.75 monthly water heating bill).
  • 57.7 million households (48.8%) use natural gas for heating water (gas boilers, gas tankless water heaters). Collectively, these households pay $11.10 billion in water heating bills annually. On average, that comes to $197/year per household (or $16.42 monthly water heating bill).
  • 5.0 million households (4.2%) use propane for heating water. Collectively, these households pay $1.68 billion in water heating bills annually. On average, that comes to $394/year per household (or $32.83 monthly water heating bill).
  • 5.8 million households (4.9%) use fuel oil or kerosene for heating water. Collectively, these households pay $1.09 billion in water heating bills annually. On average, that comes to $382/year per household (or $31.83 monthly water heating bill).

From these data, we quickly see that:

  • Gas and electric water heating are both cheaper than propane or fuel oil/kerosene water heating.
  • On average, gas water heating is way cheaper ($197/year) than electric water heating ($381/year).

Now, we need to take into account that these are absolute averages for all households across the US. The monthly water heating bill will depend on several key factors, including:

  • Price of electricity and natural gas. This varies state-by-state and even city-by-city. That’s why we looked into RECS data to check the gas vs electric heater financial viability on a state-by-state basis (based on the data available from the RECS census).
  • Hot water usage. Obviously, 2-family homes will use less hot water than 5-family homes; and will pay less for either electricity or gas.
  • Size of a water heater (secondary importance). We have 30-gallon, 50-gallon, and 80-gallon water heating boilers. All the electric boils will use the same heating element – 4500-watt tubular heater – and will thus have the same heating expenses.
  • Type of water heater. As we know, both gas and electric tankless water heaters’ yearly costs should be lower than gas and electric conventional storage-based water heaters. That’s because tankless units are more efficient than conventional heaters.

Before we look at state-by-state data, it is useful to keep in mind how hot water usage and cost differ for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6+ family homes. Here is the data:

  • Average US 1-family home will pay $330 annually for electric water heating vs $107 annually for gas water heating.
  • Average US 2-family home will pay $402 annually for electric water heating vs $170 annually for gas water heating.
  • Average US 3-family home will pay $357 annually for electric water heating vs $232 annually for gas water heating.
  • Average US 4-family home will pay $408 annually for electric water heating vs $284 annually for gas water heating.
  • Average US 5-family home will pay $439 annually for electric water heating vs $482 annually for gas water heating.
  • Average US 6+ family home will pay $450 annually for electric water heating vs $444 annually for gas water heating.

As you can see, the difference between electric vs gas water heating for 1, 2, 3, and 4 family homes is quite big (even $200/year) in favor of cheaper gas heating. For 5 and 6 family homes, the electric and gas water heating yearly costs are pretty much neck-a-neck.

Alright, we know that the financial viability of gas vs electric water heating comes down to the prices of gas and electricity. These vary from state-to-state. That’s why we used US regional RECS data to calculate the average water heating cost for electric vs gas heating on a state-by-state basis. Here are the yearly costs comparisons:

Yearly Gas Vs Electric Water Heating Costs State-By-State

US State: Average Gas Water Heating Cost ($/Year) Average Electric Water Heating Cost ($/Year)
Alabama $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Alaska No Data No Data
Arizona $228 Per Year $299 Per Year
Arkansas $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
California $228 Per Year $299 Per Year
Colorado $228 Per Year $299 Per Year
Connecticut $249 Per Year $412 Per Year
Delaware $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Florida $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Georgia $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Hawaii No Data No Data
Idaho $228 Per Year $299 Per Year
Illinois $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Indiana $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Iowa $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Kansas $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Kentucky $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Louisiana $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Maine $249 Per Year $412 Per Year
Maryland $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Massachusetts $249 Per Year $412 Per Year
Michigan $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Minnesota $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Mississippi $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Missouri $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Montana $228 Per Year $299 Per Year
Nebraska $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Nevada $228 Per Year $299 Per Year
New Hampshire $249 Per Year $412 Per Year
New Jersey $249 Per Year $412 Per Year
New Mexico $228 Per Year $299 Per Year
New York $249 Per Year $412 Per Year
North Carolina $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
North Dakota $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Ohio $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Oklahoma $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Oregan $228 Per Year $299 Per Year
Pennsylvania $249 Per Year $412 Per Year
Rhode Island $249 Per Year $412 Per Year
South Carolina $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
South Dakota $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Tennessee $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Texas $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Utah $228 Per Year $299 Per Year
Vermont $249 Per Year $412 Per Year
Virginia $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Washington $228 Per Year $299 Per Year
West Virginia $245 Per Year $357 Per Year
Wisconsin $206 Per Year $308 Per Year
Wyoming $228 Per Year $299 Per Year

As we can see from this chart, gas water heating is always preferable over electric water heating. Some states may have lower electricity prices while other states have lower gas prices. Regardless of these prices, however, the average US household in each state will benefit financially by opting for the gas water heater.

Let’s look at the state-by-state monthly water heating costs as well:

Monthly Gas Vs Electric Water Heating Costs State-By-State

US State: Average Gas Water Heating Cost ($/Month) Average Electric Water Heating Cost ($/Month)
Alabama $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Alaska No Data No Data
Arizona $19.00 Per Month $24.92 Per Month
Arkansas $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
California $19.00 Per Month $24.92 Per Month
Colorado $19.00 Per Month $24.92 Per Month
Connecticut $20.75 Per Month $34.33 Per Month
Delaware $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Florida $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Georgia $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Hawaii No Data No Data
Idaho $19.00 Per Month $24.92 Per Month
Illinois $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Indiana $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Iowa $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Kansas $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Kentucky $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Louisiana $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Maine $20.75 Per Month $34.33 Per Month
Maryland $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Massachusetts $20.75 Per Month $34.33 Per Month
Michigan $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Minnesota $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Mississippi $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Missouri $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Montana $19.00 Per Month $24.92 Per Month
Nebraska $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Nevada $19.00 Per Month $24.92 Per Month
New Hampshire $20.75 Per Month $34.33 Per Month
New Jersey $20.75 Per Month $34.33 Per Month
New Mexico $19.00 Per Month $24.92 Per Month
New York $20.75 Per Month $34.33 Per Month
North Carolina $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
North Dakota $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Ohio $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Oklahoma $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Oregan $19.00 Per Month $24.92 Per Month
Pennsylvania $20.75 Per Month $34.33 Per Month
Rhode Island $20.75 Per Month $34.33 Per Month
South Carolina $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
South Dakota $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Tennessee $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Texas $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Utah $19.00 Per Month $24.92 Per Month
Vermont $20.75 Per Month $34.33 Per Month
Virginia $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Washington $19.00 Per Month $24.92 Per Month
West Virginia $20.42 Per Month $29.75 Per Month
Wisconsin $17.17 Per Month $25.67 Per Month
Wyoming $19.00 Per Month $24.92 Per Month

Again, we see that gas vs electric water heating monthly cost is, on a state-by-state average, always lower if we use natural gas for heating water.

The monthly state-by-state water heating cost ranges:

  • From $17.17 to $20.42 per month for gas water heating.
  • From $24.92 to $34.33 per month for electric water heating.

All in all, we have seen that using gas water heaters will reduce the yearly and monthly water heating costs compared to electric water heating. In every state, the monthly heating bills are lower if you are using gas-powered water heaters.

However, it needs to be pointed out that the initial cost of gas water heaters is usually much higher than the initial cost of electric water heaters (heaters + installation + labor costs). On top of that, we also need to take the environmental factor into account. Generally, using electricity is more eco-friendly than heating water with gas.

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With all of these water heating cost calculations, we hope that the dilemma between gas vs electric water heating costs is put to rest. Using the statistical analysis with the RECS databases for utility bill payments across the US, we see that gas water heaters have a lower monthly operating cost.

5 thoughts on “Gas Vs Electric Water Heater Monthly Cost Comparison (State-By-State)”

  1. I put a 7-Day 24-hour timer on my electric water heater. I’m usually in bed by 10:00 at night, so I shut the water heater off at 10:00 with the timer. it comes back on 4:30 gives it plenty of time to warm up I’m out of the house and going to work around 7:00 7:30 so I shut it off again it comes back on for 4:30 on the weekends it’s a different schedule but still shut it off at night but leaving it run all day so I can have hot water on demand and there’s also an override switch if I’m on vacation or off sick that day etc. For my electric bill used to average around $150 a month now it averages about $105 that’s a pretty significant savings for the initial cost of a 7-Day 24-hour timer.

    Reply
    • Hi Stephen, thanks for sharing this. Just using the timer correctly you have reduced the electric water heating bill by $45 per month? That’s outstanding, it sets a very good example of how to save on water heating costs.

      Reply
  2. While you have done a great job comparing the operating costs of gas vs. electric, I really wish you could differentiate between the different types of electric water heaters, i.e., resistance, tankless, and heat pump. To be really greedy I’d like to throw in a comparison with solar water heating. Maybe on the next round the EIA will provide that breakdown.

    Reply
    • Hi Meta, this comparison is based on statistics. I would also love to see data by type of water heater. For example, heat pumps will have an above 300% efficiency and the costs there would be way below tankless or resistance electric heaters.

      Reply
      • heat pump condensers/ evaporators are notorious for cracking and leaking and also need yearly thorough cleaning to keep them from icing up. I got two years out of mine and now i have to keep it on electric all the time.

        Reply

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