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Compare Gas Electricity - Compare Gas Electricity: Three Appliances - Compare Gas Electricity: Stoves, Compare Gas Electricity: Water Heaters

heating energy natural efficient

Though not as clean as solar power and other clean energy alternatives, natural gas is often a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly power source than electricity is. This is partly due to the methods by which electricity is produced in the United States. In heating, especially, gas is often more efficient.

Compare Gas Electricity: Stoves

Though electric stoves tend to be cheaper than gas stoves, many cooks swear by the precise cooking afforded by gas-powered ranges. Today’s most popular stoves tend to feature both: gas ranges up top with electric ovens beneath.

Gas-powered stoves are “greener” than electric ones as well. Though natural gas is a finite resource, burning it is far cleaner than the coal-based power plants that make up the bulk of America’s energy infrastructure. In time, clean energy technology may change the rules on this, but for the time being, natural gas remains the superior choice. This is one reason that ENERGY STAR, the American government’s rating system for energy efficient homes and businesses, endorses several gas ranges.

In terms of financial efficiency, gas-powered stoves are often, but not always, the preferred method of cooking. Gas ranges heat pots and kettles more quickly than electric ones, which results in less overall time spent cooking. However, the cost of natural gas fluctuates more by region. Gas-rich areas like California, Texas, and the New England states can provide this resource cheaper than other locations. Before making what they may consider the most cost-efficient choice, budget consumers should check with local gas companies to see what the comparative prices will be. On average, though, electric stoves cost 50% more than their gas-powered counterparts.

Compare Gas Electricity: Water Heaters

Gas water heaters are more efficient than electric ones, but they are also more expensive initially. While gas-powered and electric stoves tend to be comparable in price, gas water heaters cost about 25% more than do electric ones (based on prices at Sears.com). The relative cheapness of gas over electricity holds true here as well, however, most gas units will save money in the long run.

Note also that tankless water heaters are even more efficient. This relatively new technology is about twice as expensive from start-up but saves even more power in the long run for both gas and electric stoves. Rather than keeping water heated around the clock, tankless models use advances in heating efficiency to heat water as it is needed. Note also that the efficiency of these devices drops somewhat in larger households where hot water is used constantly throughout the day.

Compare Gas Electricity: Climate Control

Heating and cooling is a more complicated area in the comparison between gas and electricity. Most older homes use gas heating and electric cooling, and both use large amounts of resources to keep homes comfortable. Scale is also an important consideration, as small, well-insulated rooms can sometimes be cheaper to heat with electricity.

Generally speaking, gas is better at heating an entire home. However, electric heating is often more precise than natural gas, which means that small, electric heaters can be used to strategically heat rooms that see use throughout the day. If these rooms are well-insulated as well, then heating can be accomplished with a small “burst” of electricity.

Otherwise, go gas. If you want to run the numbers, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 1 kilowatt hour of electricity provides the heating equivalent of 3.3 cubic feet in natural gas. First, subtract your difference in kilowatt hours from a heated month to a non-heated month. Then, multiply by 3.3 and compare that to local gas prices. If this is lower than the difference in your energy bills, then natural gas is the way to go for heating a home.

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