Are you buying a new home? Maybe you have an appliance that’s on its last leg? Or you want to upgrade your appliances for greener models?
No matter what has you shopping around for appliances, there’s probably one big question on your mind. Are gas appliances or electric appliances better for my energy bills?
That’s a good question and a pretty significant one. Some people don’t have the option and can only use electric appliances. But for those of you who can choose between gas and electric appliances, keep reading to get a better idea of which one is going to cost less to operate every month.
Energy Rates: Electric Appliances vs Gas Appliances
The first thing most people think about when they’re deciding between electric and gas appliances is the cost of the energy source. Given that a lot of electricity is generated using natural gas, it’s understandable that gas prices would be cheaper than electricity prices. Generally speaking, electricity is more expensive than gas.
Of course, that isn’t always the case, especially in the northeast. You may remember how natural gas more than doubled in price over the last two years.
When you compare costs, the timing makes a difference. At certain times of year, natural gas is going to cost more per therm in the northeast due to demand for heating fuels. If it’s a particularly cold winter season it can really increase the cost of natural gas. That will close the gap between gas prices and electricity prices.
But to know for sure, you’ll have to research the average gas prices and electricity prices for your area. Rates are going to vary from one market to the next, even within the same state.
Of course, if you own or plan to own a solar power system, then electric appliances will likely be the most cost-effective option since you’d be using electricity you generate from the sun for free.
Gas Appliances – In almost all instances, despite rising natural gas prices, gas will be cheaper than electricity.
Energy Efficiency: Electric Appliances vs Gas Appliances
But what about efficiency? What you end up paying on your utility bills isn’t just a matter of how much an energy resource costs. How much energy is used to power appliances is also a big factor. For that reason, you have to also consider the energy efficiency of gas and electric appliances.
Experts agree that gas appliances tend to be more energy efficient than their electric counterparts. Part of the reason gas appliances are more energy efficient is because gas generates heat more quickly than electricity.
However, it does depend on the appliance. For example, gas dryers are 30% more energy efficient than electric dryers. BUT – gas washing machines no longer exist. They have been replaced by a more efficient option – high-efficiency electric washers.
All new appliances should provide information on energy requirements, meaning how much energy is needed for operation. You can use this information paired with the average energy rates in your area to get a good estimate of how much the appliance will cost to operate either monthly or annually.
Winner: Gas Appliances – Once again natural gas comes out on top as the most energy efficient option for many appliances, although some types of electric appliances use less energy.
What to Know if You’re Switching
Something to consider is the cost of switching from electric to gas or vice versa. Your home may not be set up for both types of appliances, which means you’ll need to do some converting. The cost could be just a couple hundred dollars or it could be a few thousand.
If you are converting to gas, then gas lines may need to be installed. Conservative estimates put the cost somewhere between $250 and $700. And if you are converting to all-electric, then gas lines may need to be capped off and new wiring put in. Installing electric lines costs around $350 per line.
There could be an upfront cost, but you may find that the monthly savings after switching is worth it in the long run. Something else you’ll want to keep in mind is that gas appliances tend to last longer than electric appliances since they have few parts. If you plan to be in your home for years to come, appliance longevity matters.
No matter what type of appliances you have, you can count on Provider Power as your energy supplier. We have service areas across the northeast – use your zip code to find electricity plans in Massachusetts, Maine energy plans and New Hampshire power plans for homes and businesses.