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How To Tell if Water Heater Is Gas or Electric

How To Tell If Water Heater Is Gas Or Electric

A water heater is a convenient appliance that instantly provides hot water on cold winter days.

Gas and electric water heaters are common in the market and used equally. However, understanding how your water heater is powered can help you monitor your energy usage and know effective ways to fix it in case of a malfunction.


There are two most efficient ways to know whether you have a gas water heater or an electric one.

  • Remove the water heater access panel.
  • If you can see a blue flame or pilot light behind the access panel, it is a gas-powered water heater.
  • Look at the tank’s appearance; you will see a label at the front telling essential information like tank model no, capacity, and type.
  • It will tell you whether it is a gas or electric heater.

Read further about the five differences between a gas and an electric water heater.

5 Ways To Tell Whether Your Water Heater Is Gas or Electric

Whether your heater is gas or electric power, both are efficient and provide good results. However, it is essential to know the differences to fix them in case of a malfunction.

Here are a few ways:

1. Look for the Pilot Light

Look For The Pilot Light

As mentioned earlier, the easiest way to check your water heater power source is to look for the blue pilot light.

  • Remove the access panel and look for a blue flame or pilot light behind the access panel.
  • If you can locate it, you have a gas-powered heater, as electric heaters do not come with such lights.

2. Check the Electric Cord

Check The Electric Cord

Electric water heaters require a power cord to get the electricity to work. If you can see an electrical cable connecting to your heater, it is an electric water heater.

You have to plug in the power cord to run your appliance.

3. Examine the Bottom of the Tank

Examine The Bottom Of The Tank

Gas-powered heaters have a pipe that enters from the bottom of the tank. It can either be black, copper, or yellow.

This pipe is crucial as it carries fuel into the system that warms the water.

4. Inspect the Top of the Heater

Inspect The Top Of The Heater

If your water heater has a vent at the top between the hot and cold water pipes, it indicates it is a gas-powered heater. Gas heaters have a motor and fan inside them that expels the exhaust created by gas to come out.

Electric heaters do not have a chimney or vent at the top as they do not require to expel any exhaust. However, they have a silver conduit or an electrical wire going into the heater from the top.


If you have a gas water heater, always ensure the vent pipe is unclogged, as a blocked pipe cannot expel the exhaust gases causing the water heater to back-drafting.

5. Check the Label

Check The Label

If you look at your heater, you can see several labels like safety instructions, warnings, and crucial information related to your heater.

You can locate the sticker displaying essential information like the model no and tank capacity. Here you will see your type of heater; if it’s written electric, you have an electric heater and vice versa.


Knowing about the water heater type is crucial information that can help you fix it if it malfunctions. The easiest way to know about the kind of heater is to remove the access panel and look for the blue pilot light.

Besides that, you can look for pipes coming out from the bottom or a vent at the top, indicating a gas heater. An electric one will have a power cord, and it won’t have a vent to exhaust gases.

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