pilot light flame on booster heaters

Booster Heaters: Electric or Gas?

Last week on The Boiler Room, we talked about using booster heaters for hot HOT water warewasher sanitation vs. chemical sanitation without a booster heater.

Do you need a booster heater for your restaurant or other commercial establishment? You can read all about it here: To Boost or Not To Boost?

Now let’s talk electric booster heaters vs. gas booster heaters. I’m inclined to suggest you go with a gas booster heater for your restaurant, hotel, or other commercial enterprise. Here’s why…

Read the full post here…

Electric Booster Heaters

Electric booster heaters are typically cheaper on the front end, taking into account both purchase and installation. So you’re looking at less upfront capital expenditure, which might be helpful if you’re just starting to set up shop. Speaking of installation, the electric booster heater doesn’t require special venting and can be installed anywhere in your commercial building.

Your electric booster heater has a much smaller space footprint than its gas counterpart. That electric unit will fit snugly under your washer, or right on the wall next to it, taking up minimal space.

That low price tag comes with additional long-term costs. Your electric bill is going to increase big time, especially in periods of peak demand. Not to mention the special components that require (what can be) expensive and/or frequent maintenance: the heating elements and other parts must be maintained and/or changed out to keep your electric booster heater in operation.

Gas Booster Heaters

Even though your gas booster heater costs more upfront, you’re looking at long-term operations costs that are just ONE-THIRD of what it costs to operate that electric booster heater. That’s significant savings in energy costs.

Gas booster heaters last a lot longer than their electric counterparts because there are no heating elements to attract mineral deposits. No corrosion on the gas booster heater components means less maintenance charges over time, too.

Gas booster heaters are much, much larger than electric booster heaters, so you’re going to need a lot more extra space. You’re also going to need venting piping installed through a chimney or the roof, or through an external wall in your building.

Overall, although electric booster heaters look like the better option short-term, if you’re in business for the long haul, we recommend gas booster heaters, hands down. Why? You’re looking at a savings of over $350 per month in operating costs after your initial investment. Seeing as that gas booster heater will also outlast your electric unit, you’re going to make up the up-front cost differential fairly quickly.

If you’re looking to invest in your business, my advice is to go with the gas booster heater over the electric booster heater, especially if you have the space for it. To be sure, contact your utility company for estimated local usage operational costs. Peak demand charges are only applicable to commercial customers, so be sure not to overlook those additional expenses.

Again, an important safety reminder: NEVER turn up your regular water heater to achieve higher temperatures without a booster heater. You’re risking instant third-degree burns—and that’s a huge liability! Be safe and up to code: install a booster heater for your hot HOT water needs.

Featured image: Bistro Dishes by Charles Rondeau.