Does A Gas Water Heater Need Electricity?

Does A Gas Water Heater Need Electricity

There are lots of different functions that go on in our homes which we take for granted.

This includes the air conditioning system, heating system, and most importantly the water heating system.

As we take these functions for granted, most of the time we don’t actually know how they work.

In fact, most of the time, we do not even know the different components which allow them to work. This is why so many people do not know what powers their water heater

Most people have a gas water heater in their home, and it is this device which ensures that the water that comes out of your hot tap is actually hot.

Despite the fact that these heaters are known as gas water heaters, a lot of people still wonder if electricity is used in this process.

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at these devices to find out if gas water heaters need electricity to operate.   

What Is A Gas Water Heater?

First things first, let’s take a look at what a gas water heater is. As you probably already know, it is the gas water heater in your home which is responsible for heating all the water in your home.

So every single hot tap is powered by this heater. This means that all the water that you use for cooking, cleaning, bathing, and heating comes from this single gas water heater.

It is easily one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home. 

The majority of homes will have a standard tank-style gas water heater. These are the traditional style of gas heater, but they are still the most popular.

Despite new tankless water heaters now entering the market and growing in popularity. This is primarily because the traditional style of gas water heater is still the most cost-effective.

The majority of homes use gas water heaters, but you can also get water heaters that are powered by electricity. This might be the main reason why a lot of people get confused about these devices. So do gas water heaters need electricity?

Does A Gas Water Heater Need Electricity?

In one word, no, a gas water heater does not need electricity to operate. As its name suggests, a gas water heater is powered by gas, not electricity.

So, it does not require any electricity to operate. Once you really think about the name, you will realize that it is pretty understandable that gas water heaters do not require electricity to operate. But it is obvious why you might have expected them to.

After all, the majority of appliances in our home run on electricity, so it isn’t surprising that you would expect your water heater to too. 

However, it is worth noting that it is only gas exclusive gas water heaters which will not require electricity to run. These devices will not use electricity at any point in their design.

Everything, including their pilot light, is powered by gas. 

There are some gas water heaters that will require electricity to operate, and these are usually gas water heaters with an electric pilot light.

Some gas water heaters will have an electric pilot light which is connected to mains electricity, but the majority will not.

As long as the pilot light is not connected to mains electricity, then your gas water heater will continue to operate if there were a power cut, for example.

So, yes, some gas water heaters will require electricity to operate. But, the majority of them will not. Instead, they will run on gas. 

How Does A Gas Water Heater Work Without Electricity?

If you have a gas exclusive heater, then the gas water heater will not use electricity at any point. This is because the pilot light is ignited through the use of gas.

So, as long as that pilot light is kept burning, the gas water heater will work. 

The whole purpose of a gas water heater with a tank is that cold water enters the tank and is heated through convection and a gas burner below the tank.

The cold water runs continuously into the tank through a supply tube, and it is continuously heated by the gas burner.

This creates a water tank that is completely full of hot water, which is directed out through the hot water discharge pipe to provide hot water to the different areas of your home. 

Due to science, heat rises. So, once the water becomes hot, it will rise to the top of the tank, where the hot water discharge pipe is located.

As the hot water rises and moves out of the tank, more cold water will enter at the bottom of the tank, ready to be heated.

Your gas water heater will also be connected to an exhaust flue which extracts all the fumes created by the convention process out of your home, and out through a chimney or pipe.

This ensures that the gas system used to heat your home is perfectly safe, as long as you get it regularly serviced. 

If your gas water heater has an electric pilot light, then the only difference in operation will be that the pilot light is ignited by electricity. The rest of the operation will be exactly the same.

A gas water heater with an electric pilot light will not even need continuous connection to electricity, if you were to have a power cut, your gas water heater would not stop working immediately. But, it will need electricity should the pilot light go out. 


In short, no, not all gas water heaters will need electricity to operate.

In fact, the majority of gas water heaters will not require electricity. But, some gas water heaters will, and these are usually the devices which have an electric pilot light.

In these devices, electricity is needed to ignite the pilot light, and allow the gas water heater to work. However, even these devices will not need electricity continuously.

So, not all gas water heaters will need electricity to run, but some will. It will all depend on the type of gas water heater that has been installed in your home. 

YouTube video