Instant Plumbing Logo Calgary Plumbers



Do Gas Tankless Water Heaters Require Electricity?

Do Gas Tankless Water Heaters Require Electricity

In the realm of modern home appliances, gas tankless water heaters represent a significant advancement in efficiency and convenience.

Unlike their bulky, tank-based predecessors, these sleek units provide hot water on demand, eliminating the need to store and continuously heat a large volume of water.

This not only saves on energy costs but also conserves space, making gas tankless water heaters an attractive option for homeowners looking to upgrade their hot water systems.

However, one question that often arises is whether these gas-powered units require electricity to operate.

Understanding the power requirements of gas tankless water heaters is crucial for homeowners considering this technology for their homes.

The Evolution of Water Heating Technology

Water heating technology has come a long way from the traditional tank-based systems that occupy significant space and consume substantial energy.

Gas tankless water heaters, with their promise of endless hot water and reduced energy consumption, mark a leap forward.

They heat water directly without the use of a storage tank, which means they only use energy when there’s a demand for hot water, leading to potential savings on utility bills.

The Appeal of Gas Tankless Water Heaters

The appeal of gas tankless water heaters lies in their efficiency and the convenience they offer.

By providing hot water on demand, they eliminate the wait time for water to heat up, ensuring that hot water is always available when needed. This on-demand functionality, coupled with their compact size, makes them an ideal choice for homes with limited space.

Understanding Power Requirements

While it’s clear that gas tankless water heaters use natural gas as their primary fuel source, the role of electricity in their operation is less understood.

The question of whether these units require electricity is pertinent, as it affects installation considerations, operational feasibility during power outages, and overall energy consumption.

Understanding the electrical requirements of gas tankless water heaters is essential for homeowners to make informed decisions about whether this water heating solution fits their needs and lifestyle.

In this article, we delve into the specifics of how gas tankless water heaters operate, the necessity of electricity in their functioning, and what homeowners can do to ensure their hot water supply remains uninterrupted during power outages.

By exploring these aspects, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview that will help homeowners navigate the decision-making process regarding the adoption of gas tankless water heater technology in their homes.

Do Gas Tankless Water Heaters Require Electricity?

The short answer to whether gas tankless water heaters require electricity is yes, but the reasons and implications of this requirement deserve a closer examination.

Despite being primarily fueled by gas, these advanced water heating systems incorporate several electrical components crucial for their efficient and safe operation.

Understanding these components and their functions can help homeowners appreciate the technology behind gas tankless water heaters and make informed decisions regarding their installation and use.

The Role of Electricity in Gas Tankless Water Heaters

Electricity plays a pivotal role in the operation of gas tankless water heaters, even though the primary heating source is natural gas. This section explores the key electrical components involved and their functions:

  1. Internal PC Board: The brain of the unit, the internal Printed Circuit (PC) Board, controls the heater’s operation, ensuring it responds correctly to the demand for hot water. It monitors water flow, and temperature settings, and ensures the unit operates within safe parameters.
  2. Electronic Ignition: Traditional water heaters might use a pilot light to ignite the gas burner, but modern gas tankless water heaters employ an electronic ignition system. This system is more efficient and safer, as it eliminates the need for a constantly burning pilot light, but it requires electricity to function.
  3. Electronic Thermostat: To provide hot water at the desired temperature, gas tankless water heaters use an electronic thermostat. This component measures the incoming water temperature and adjusts the burner’s intensity accordingly, ensuring consistent hot water delivery at the set temperature.

How Gas Tankless Water Heaters Use Electricity

Understanding the specific roles of these electrical components clarifies why electricity is essential for the operation of gas tankless water heaters:

  • Sensing the Flow of Water: When a hot water tap is turned on, the internal PC board detects the flow of water and activates the burner to start heating water. Without electricity, this automatic response wouldn’t be possible.
  • Turning on the Burner: The electronic ignition system requires a small amount of electricity to ignite the gas burner. This system is more reliable and energy-efficient than older pilot light systems but depends on the availability of electrical power.
  • Generating Hot Water on Demand: The electronic thermostat continuously monitors the temperature of the water being heated and adjusts the gas burner’s flame. This precise control ensures that the water reaches the desired temperature as it flows through the heater, providing consistent and efficient heating.

Solutions for Power Outages

Given the reliance on electricity, a common concern is how gas tankless water heaters perform during power outages. Fortunately, there are solutions:

  • Portable Generators: Homeowners can use portable generators to power their tankless water heaters during outages, ensuring continuous hot water supply.
  • Battery Backup Systems: Installing a battery backup system specifically designed for tankless water heaters can provide emergency power, keeping the water heater operational during short-term power outages.


While gas tankless water heaters do require electricity to operate, the benefits of efficiency, space savings, and on-demand hot water make them a compelling choice for many homeowners.

Understanding the electrical components and considering backup power options can help ensure that your hot water supply remains uninterrupted, even during power outages.

George Pinel
George Pinel

Master Plumber

I have been involved in this family owned business for 33 years now.

It has always been and will continue to be the core focus of Instant Plumbing & Heating to provide a long lasting relationship with our customers based on trust and integrity of our service and products.

This achieved by using the best quality materials. I as a business owner continue to mentor and treat my staff with the highest regard and respect, this interns helps them deliver to the client great quality workmanship and service.

It is our professional goal to leave a situation better than when we arrived both in how we do our work and in how you feel for having chosen us to do your work, we are in the anxiety reduction business using plumbing and heating service work to do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social media


For evening, weekend or holiday service, please call (403) 338-1172.