Will a Gas Water Heater Work Without Electricity?

When you’re considering buying a new gas water heater for your home, it’s natural to want to evaluate your options and cover all the bases, including what to expect from the system in an emergency. If you got here by searching for “water heater installation near me,” you’re in the right place.

Will a gas water heater work without electricity? As the leading water heater installation company in Rockaway, NJ, we can tell you it depends on the type of gas water heater you have. We’ll discuss the distinctions in this blog post.

Conventional Gas Water Heaters

Conventional gas water heaters have a tank for storing preheated hot water. After your household uses up the water, you must wait for the tank to refill. These are the most common in many homes across the country.

Since these units burn methane, it’s natural to assume they will still work in the event of a blackout. However, it’s important to confirm the system’s specifications before making any assumptions about gas appliance functionality in this scenario.

Most conventional gas water heaters will not work without electricity for several reasons. First, the pilot lights in most such units require electricity to switch on. They don’t stay switched on round the clock. Second, the water heater’s thermostat needs electricity to maintain the proper temperatures.

Keep in mind that some gas water heaters can work without electricity. They burn gas to keep the pilot light lit for as long as you want. However, they are the exception, not the norm, as they are not energy efficient. Thus, you’re only likely to find them in use in older homes.

If you’re on the market for a conventional gas water heater, furnace, or boiler, you’ll almost certainly get a unit that requires electricity to switch on the pilot light. It’s why most of them come with plugs for the electrical outlet.

Tankless Gas Water Heaters

Tankless gas water heaters don’t hold water in reserve. They generate hot water on demand, so they never run out of hot water while in use. They are the perfect choice for homeowners with a large family size.

Will a gas water heater work without electricity if it’s tankless? It’s an emphatic no. The level of electricity dependency is higher with these units.

The hardware in most tankless water heaters requires electricity. These units need electricity to monitor the water and keep it from getting too hot. They also feature electric sensors to prevent overheating. Modern tankless water heaters also feature a mechanism that prevents them from working during a power outage.

How Long Will the Water in Conventional Gas Water Heaters Stay Hot Without Power?

If there’s no power to the water heater, the hot water inside a conventional tankless water heater will stay hot for a few hours at most. The exact duration depends on the type of water heater you have.

How Can You Keep Your Gas Water Heater Running in the Event of a Blackout?

The only way to keep your water heater working during a blackout is to hook it up to alternative energy sources. Home battery systems and portable generators are the popular choices here. However, they require a significant upfront investment for a setup you may not need more than a few times in a decade.

An alternative is to purchase a small battery backup system for emergency use. You can plug your water heater into the backup system for 30-60 minutes.

You can also look beyond your water heater for hot water in the event of a blackout.

Depending on the situation, you can boil water manually over your gas stove in a pot or kettle and transfer it to a bucket or bowl. Most gas cookers don’t require electricity, so you can use yours for backup heating to boil water temporarily until the electricity returns.

It’s an inconvenient but cheap source of emergency hot water that does the job in a pinch.

Get Expert Advice on Your Next Water Heater From RDH Plumbing, Sewer, & Drain Specialist

Will a gas water heater work without electricity? As we’ve seen above, it’s highly unlikely. A lack of power to the unit is one of the reasons hot water will run out fast. If you’d like further guidance on the right type of water heater to buy, we are here to help.

Call RDH Plumbing, Sewer, & Drain Specialist today at (908) 774-8751 to find the perfect unit for your Rockaway, NJ, home.

RDH Plumbing Specialist Van

Efficient Residential & Commercial Plumbing Services!

We make residences and businesses comfortable again.

Schedule service