When you’re purchasing new appliances, one of the first things you’ll have to address is the difference between electric and gas-powered options. Both choices have pros and cons, so you’ll have many factors to consider when making your choice. If gas already exists in your home, you’ll have more flexibility. However, you can retrofit your space if you’re dedicated to gas installations, and new constructions typically present ample opportunities to go in either direction. Here’s what you need to know to make an educated choice between electricity and gas for your home.
Gas and electric appliances deliver the same core functionality, but they do so in different manners. It’s worth considering both options if you’re about to purchase a new system, as you’ll likely be relying on that installation for decades to come.
Gas appliances present risks that you won’t find with electric alternatives. Although vent hoods should pull harmful compounds like carbon monoxide, methane, and nitrogen oxide out of the house, they’re not always as efficient as needed, leaving some of these gases to linger in the home. The risk of developing asthma is higher in homes with gas-burning appliances.
Carbon monoxide and methane are potent greenhouse gases as well, contributing to global warming. The process of getting natural gas is also a controversial topic because of its environmental impact. Roughly two-thirds of the natural gas in the United States comes from fracking, which releases over a thousand chemicals, many of which are harmful to human health.
Sticking to electric appliances doesn’t necessarily negate these environmental issues. Power plants rely on natural gas to produce roughly one-third of our electricity. For the sake of environmental safety, the best option is to use renewable electricity sources like water, wind, and solar power.
In most areas, natural gas is cheaper than electricity. However, the actual numbers vary greatly by location. In the Pacific Northwest, electricity prices are particularly low due to the availability of hydroelectric power. A growing number of homes are also implementing their own renewable power systems, such as solar panels. These installations provide free electricity to the home, albeit in limited amounts.
Natural gas is most expensive in Hawaii, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Kentucky, Maine, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Arizona. Natural gas is typically cheapest in Idaho, Utah, Oklahoma, Montana, North Dakota, Alaska, New Jersey, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. Even in areas where gas is cheap, it’s not always available. In rural homes, natural gas may not be an option.
If your home is already set up for all-electric appliances, you may have to pay hundreds of dollars to convert to gas. Converting from gas to electric is simpler, as homes typically have at least some form of electricity in place already for appliances, such as lights, televisions, and computers, that don’t have gas-powered alternatives.
Efficiency varies greatly by appliance. Gas appliances are usually more efficient than their electric counterparts, but this depends greatly on the appliance’s age, condition, and other factors. In the case of both furnaces and water heaters, heat pumps are the most efficient option. This is because heat pumps move heat instead of generating it. You may be surprised at how much heat is available in the air, even when it seems cold outside.
Although heat pumps are gaining popularity in many different areas, they’re still most effective in warmer climates. In our colder Chicagoland area, you may want to pair a heat pump with a backup system that can kick in when it gets too cold for the heat pump to work as efficiently as you’d like.
There’s a common myth that gas appliances will work without electricity, making them an effective choice for going off the grid or withstanding a major power outage. This isn’t true for the majority of gas appliances. Furnaces and gas fireplaces use electric-powered fans to push heat out and distribute it throughout the home.
Gas stoves and water heaters usually rely on electric starters. If the water heater’s pilot light stays on, it may be able to continue working without electricity. However, it isn’t safe to light these pilots manually, so once they’re out, you’ll need power to get the water heater or stove running again safely.
Whether you’re dealing with gas furnaces and water heaters or electric alternatives, we can deliver the services and solutions you need to keep your home running safely and efficiently. Contact us for your routine maintenance appointments and any repair needs. We even offer 24/7 emergency repair services for potentially hazardous situations. Our team is dedicated to keeping your home safe and comfortable at all times. Contact Dahme Mechanical Industries today.