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Gas vs. Electric Boilers: What’s the Right Choice for Your Project?

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By Allison Hamilton on April, 13 2022

As technology evolves, we’re seeing a wider range of boiler options throughout the hydronic industry. Today, two of the top choices in the industry include gas boilers and electric boilers. There are benefits for each kind, but which one is suitable for your project?

Let’s start off breaking down where these boilers work best:

  • A traditional gas boiler works best for projects in places like hospitals, universities, and office buildings. These units can handle large-capacity jobs often found in buildings like those above.
  • An electric boiler works great for smaller projects and facilities. Because these boilers can be more compact, it could make sense to use an electric boiler when you need to save space. Electric boilers can be as large, and in some cases, larger than gas fired boilers, but if you have space restrictions, these can be the perfect fit. 

Now let’s look at the benefits of gas vs. electric boilers:

  • Gas boilers are the most cost-efficient option on the market currently. Even with other types of combustible fuels, gas tends to be the least expensive option. Gas boilers are also able to heat a higher volume of water more frequently than electric boilers.
  • Electric boilers are easy to install and have low startup costs. They can be smaller than traditional gas boilers and don’t require an exhaust output because there is no element of combustion. If your project is in an area with strict emission guidelines, an electric boiler will ease the worry of those regulations. Electric boilers are also incredibly efficient because there is no loss of heat from the heat source to the water: the amount of electricity you put in= the amount of heat you get out. If your project is in an area where the cost of electricity is low, an electric boiler might be the most cost-effective option.

Capture42742(Image from the U.S. Energy Information Administration)

We also need to consider possible drawbacks between gas vs electric boilers:

  • Gas boilers tend to be larger than electric boilers and have more moving parts. This can lead to more problems if something breaks or malfunctions. With the larger size of these boilers, you’re more limited on where they can fit. If your mechanical room is small, this could be an issue.
  • On the other hand, electric boilers may have a lower installation cost but higher operating costs. An electric boiler can be 3-4 times more expensive than a traditional gas boiler and, if you lose power, you’d have to rely on a backup generator, or you’re out of luck until power is restored. 

In the end, it’s up to you to decide what kind of boiler will optimize output for your project, but with the information above, you can get a better idea of what may work best. Contact your local Heat Transfer Sales office by clicking here and get more information about all the boiler options we carry that could fit your needs.

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