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Will My Water Heater Work if My Power Goes Out?


When investing in a new water heater for your home, it’s essential to consider all factors, including if you can use the system during emergencies. It’s imperative to research and ensure the system you invest in will accommodate your needs year-round.

One common question the Waldrop Plumbing — Heating — Air team gets is, “Will my water heater work if there’s a power outage?” There is no simple answer, as this depends on what type of system you have. Our team breaks it down below.

Tank Water Heaters

Traditional water heater. Plumber's tool box sitting next to the water heater in a basement.

The first system we’ll explore is conventional tank water heaters. Rather than heating up on demand, they store a predetermined amount of water in the tank. When this water is used up, it will take a while for the tank to refill, leaving your home with cold water in the meantime. These systems are more common in homes today.

Gas Water Heaters

These systems don’t use electricity, and homeowners are right to assume they will function during a power outage. It’s still important to check that no aspect of your water heater is plugged into a source of electricity, as some gas water heaters use electricity to re-light the pilot light. If this is the case for your system, it will need electricity to operate.

Electric Water Heaters

An electric water heater won’t function properly during a power outage, producing no hot water. Although, if the tank has proper insulation and refills itself before the outage, the water in the tank would stay hot for some time.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heater on wall in a small home office.

Alternatively to tank water heaters, tankless systems heat on-demand, meaning there is no water reserve. They provide instant hot water and never run out of hot water during use. These systems are ideal for larger homes where multiple people rely on hot water.

Gas Tankless Water Heaters

These systems use gas to operate, but their hardware does require electricity to power it. Unfortunately, these systems won’t function during a power outage and don’t have a reservoir to pull from.

Electric Tankless Water Heaters

These systems have the same outcome as the above. They use electricity to operate, so they won’t function during a power outage.

Schedule Water Heater Services

We hope this explanation helps in your decision-making about investing in a new water heater. If you have any questions regarding tank or tankless water heaters, our Waldrop team is here to help.

Let us get you started by contacting us online or calling (864) 536-0887 today.

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