Is My Water Heater Gas or Electric?

Help us to help you! If you can accurately identify what type of water heater you have, we will be able to bring out a comparable unit and get you back up and running! At Champion Plumbing we install a lot of water heaters every year. Hopefully, this video will help you identify what kind of water heater you have. Keep in mind we are a same-day Water Heater replacement company as long as you call by noon we should be able to get you back up and running the same day.

Watch our Video and You’ll Learn:

  • What kind of water heater you have, and how you will know.
  • Different type of water heater units. (gas and electric)
  • Different types of PVC Venting

Listen To The Audio

Enjoy this transcript below!

Troy: Hello, again. Troy, Champion Plumbing. I’m here with Dom. Many of you’ve probably spoke to her on the phone if you’ve called us. We’re going to explain the differences in water heaters so you know what you have. Go ahead, Dom.

Dom: All right, so the most common question I get asked when we’re quoting water heaters is what kind do I have, how do I know? There is a sticker on your water heater that has the model number, so it’s going to be this guy right here. It’s going to have your model number, serial. You don’t really need that if you don’t want to give it to us, but it’s on there, as well. That will tell us the gallon size, if it’s tall or short and what kind it is.
If you don’t have that or you can’t find it or if it’s ripped or broken or something, next we’ll ask you to look on top of your water heater. On this particular unit, this is what we call a gravity vent. This on top is just metal and it uses gravity to vent the exhaust up through your chimney. So, if we ask you if it has a metal or plastic vent, this is what we’re talking about when we say metal.

These are gas water heaters, these first three I’m going to talk about. This next one, this is what we call a power vent, so it has this big old motor on top. We’ll ask you, “Does it have a motor or metal venting?” so this is what we mean when we say a motor. You’ll notice it has the plastic PVC venting on top, as opposed to the metal that we just talked about. This power vented unit uses that motor to power vent the exhaust out the side of your house instead of the chimney. It’s a good alternative if you don’t have a chimney or things like that.

Troy: And the venting, sometimes, is black, right, plastic?

Dom: It is. Black venting is no good, we will have to replace that, so just keep that in mind. If you do have black venting, we will have to replace that. That will be an additional cost from what we quote you.

There are two different kinds of PVC venting. This is called solid core and you can tell when there’s what we call an ASTM number. If it has D in front of it, that’s good, that’s solid core. That is permitted from the manufacturer and we can use that to install your water heater. If it has an F after that ASTM number, that is cellular core and we cannot use that, that’s prohibited. So, if you do have that, we will have to replace that and, again, we’ll assess all this for you on site which is a little crash course in water heater venting for you.

This unit is what we call a power damper unit. This is not quite a power vent. It still has the metal up here so it’s gravity vented, but this is a unit that plugs into your wall here, so you’ll notice there’s this cord. It’s really, really long so if your outlet is far, far away you don’t have to worry about that. What it does is, there’s a little flap, it vents the exhaust when it needs to so it’s a little bit more efficient. This is an option if you have the gravity vented heater and you want something Energy Star rated. This is typically what we’d recommend for that.

Troy: So, finishing up with the gas, these two both plug in, so you’d need an outlet for both of these. If you lose power, you lose hot water. The gravity vent, which is the most popular by far, does not need power. You will still maintain hot water if your power goes out.
Dom: Speaking of power, this is an electric water heater. You’ll notice it does not have any venting on top, so that’s how you’ll know if it’s gas or electric. You will not be able to adjust the temperature of the water heater without taking this off, but do not ever take this panel off. If you’re not an electrician, that can be really, really dangerous. Call us. We have electricians we can recommend for you if that’s something you’d like to do.
These just have a little conduit on top. It hooks right into your electrical box, so we have our electricians on site to set up for you if you do need an electrical placement. So, that’s the way you can tell what kind of water heater you have to better help us quote you and get you what you need.

Troy: How do they find us?

Dom: You can go online at Give us a call at 651-362-2622. It’ll either be me or any of my fellow dispatchers. We can certainly help you out and get you all set with a new water heater.

Troy: There you go. That’s a crash course in water heaters. Give us a call.

Professional Plumbing is Just a Click Away!

We work Monday through Friday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Saturday: 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM. After hours emergency service is available. You can find us at 3670 Dodd Road in Eagan, MN 55123 during our open hours. You can also call us at (651) 365-1340 or email us.