Gas or Electric Stove ?

toomuchglassOctober 7, 2007

All my life I've had a gas stove - but once I went to electric ( it was in this house when I bought it ) I'd never have gas again. There are so many smart people here that know about energy costs - what do you think is more efficient ?

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Don't know about efficient. In terms of cost it depends on your area.
I do think that though I LOVE LOVE LOVE the smooth tops because they are so easy to keep clean looking, that they seem to take much longer to heat and don't heat as hot through the glass as the coil ones. (I just moved from a house with glass top to one with coils so I have a direct comparison).
So electric to electric I'd say the coil are probably more efficient due to the glass not blocking the heat.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 8:01PM
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In most cases, it's cheaper to buy an electric stove, but cheaper to operate a gas one. Installation costs can vary too depending whether gas is connected and lines run, whether you have the a/c outlets etc. Usually it's cheaper and easier to run an electric line than a gas line but that too varies. To compare stove performance fairly though you need to have comparable burner sizes. A high powered coil stove will surely outperform a low power smoothtop so you need to check the specs. And same thing comparing to a gas burner. High output electric will outperform a low output gas burner, etc.

I have an old double oven stove with corningware top. Takes quite a while to heat up but boy it does cook when it gets going, PROVIDED you have very flat bottom cookware. The coils are slightly less fussy on it and gas is less fussy yet. I tend to use an electric frypan very often so the mostly flat top is nice to set it on and the frypan is more efficient than using the stove for a lot of things.

That said, gas has its issues too. using a very small pan, like a 1 qt saucepan on a gas stove is usually pretty slow if you use it efficiently since the gas flames if too high will shoot up the sides of the pan where the small electric burners will send more energy to the pan. This is why cookware for a gas stove should have the flame guards on the handles.

Another thing though that I found interesting is that according to what I've read, electricity is more efficient at boiling water and will bring water to a boil faster than gas. I found that really curious. I guess it's the issue of contact verses heat loss up the sides. I know when I used the electric Chef's Pot, it would have a gallon of water boiling in a matter of a couple minutes. I miss that thing! And electric kettles are very efficient too. When I need some hot water for things like instant foods, I use the coffeemaker rather than the stove. I think it's faster and more efficient.

Other semi-related/unrelated perhaps? People with asthma should be careful with gas stoves, especially older ones. Many bakers prefer electric ovens for a more even heat, but all stoves have improved dramatically over the years so some of these old thoughts don't apply as much anymore.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 8:38PM
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I think this may come down to a matter of preference rather than cost, at least in my case. I'd rather cook on what I like (cooking is one of my husband's and my favorite activities). I have used my DIL's smoothtop (very carefully) and I don't like the fact that lots of my cookware...iron skillets, canning pots...can't be used on that. I love a gas cooktop, and when we get our kitchen remodel, I'm paying a lot to run a gas line in and then buying a dual fuel range - gas cooktop, electic oven. I prefer the electric oven for even heating and its self-cleaning capabilities, but I love the gas cooktop for cooking stovetop. This won't be the most economical way to go, but in the greater scheme of things, it will make us very happy, and we won't go into debt to make it happen. Sometimes, I think that saving money shouldn't be exclusive to everything else, although we are very thrifty people in most areas.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 9:09AM
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I was told that gas is still cheaper to operate. We have always owned gas so i dont know how true that is. I do alot of cooking on the open fire that gas offers such as roasting peppers and reheating tortillas.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 2:26PM
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I've had electric cookers, and gas cookers, but I much prefer gas. Both for the hob and for the oven itself. My cooker is very old, and it's not perfect, there is a hot spot near the front on the top shelf and I do rotate items to ensure they cook evenly, but it does otherwise cook perfectly. Electric can be very drying, and it takes a significant amount of time to heat up, and response to changing the temperature is slow.

I like being able to light the oven and it's ready to cook in two or three minutes. My electric oven at the old house took about 20-30 minutes. Aside from having to wait, during the long warm up period it will be consuming electric at the maximum rate. When you only want to cook something that takes about 20-30 minutes, that is doubling the time and energy use. My oven was rated at around 3000w, so I estimate that just to heat up it would consume around 1000-1500w. A lot of energy studies I've seen do not consider this extra consumption, but it must be significant. A conservative guess would be that we were consuming around 300 kWh a year just to preheat the oven.

However, while it is difficult to compare gas vs electric precisely, as all models vary in size and insulation, everything I've seen says that gas costs significantly less to use than electric.

Electric production is an expensive and wasteful process. Power plants are not very efficient, they dispose of a lot of waste heat through their cooling towers. The resistance of electric distribution lines, and the voltage reductions between the plant and your house all reduce the energy further. Also, the power grid must always be over-charged so that electric is instantly available when you switch an appliance on, the result of this is that thousands of kW a minute are being disposed of in to the ground to simply get rid of them. Efficiencies vary, but it would be extremely generous to suggest that 40% of the energy from the fuel being burnt in the power plant makes it to your house. Around 30-35% would be more realistic.

Considering how much electric is now made from gas, and the huge energy losses from doing that, it would now be impossible for electric to ever be cheaper than gas. Here, in the UK a kW of energy from electric is three times the cost of one from gas. If gas is available, it is the most economical choice for cooking, heating and hot water. It is also significantly better for the environment.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 2:53PM
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A couple good points there, but dangerous to be making blanket statements. My electric oven heats to 425 in 9-10 min. My folk's gas oven took 25-30 min, plus had much poorer insulation so it would heat up the kitchen much faster, thereby wasting a lot of energy.

I'm not going to go into an argument on electric production vs gas production, but let's be realistic, if it was that much more efficient, we'd still be burning gas lights! I don't recall the last time I saw a gas air-conditioner! :D

And I'm not sure what you meant by impossible for electric to ever be cheaper than gas, if you were talking about stoves, that's actually untrue if you check out the operating costs of induction vs gas. Induction is often more expensive than a gas appliance (depending on what you get) but the heat control is actually superior and cost of operation is much less.

Gas and electricity have their purposes and same with the other appliances as well, from crockpots to electric frypans to whatever. I've never used a gas blender, but the electric one seems pretty efficient! ;)

Back when the power company here was called Northern States Power, they had a slogan "Electricity is penny-cheap". Say what you want, it still is. Electricity is one of the top things I feel is a dramatic improvement to quality of life. It does so much and for (around here) about 14¢ per KWh, it is "penny cheap". I don't know how many therms it would take to get the equivalent lumens from a gas light to match a 13 w CFL (which I have burning right now) which will run for about 5.5 hours for a penny. Granted, during the winter the heat from the gas light would be advantageous, although probably still far less efficient than the furnace, but I doubt the light for light comparison could match with gas. Especially in the summertime given the heat issues.

And it just occurred to me that if someone considers the cost of running the gaslines to serve the remote areas, the price would be prohibitive.

I realize I'm getting off topic, and not trying to be argumentative. Just some things for thought and discussion.

BTW, the last few days I ran the a/c for a while and now the place is still closed up to stay comfortable because it's currently 51° and the weathergal said that snow is possible in the upcoming week! Personally I don't think that'll happen, but winter's coming folks. Check your furnace and get ready if you're in the "winter" climate areas.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 2:09AM
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Cynic, I wish I'd had a cooker like yours when I lived in an all electric house. It used to take ages to heat up, waiting for the light to go out. All the electric cookers I've used took a long time, but perhaps the new ones have improved. Better insulation would help.

I see your point that gas and electric aren't comparative for many appliances, but for heating they are much more comparative.

It is very difficult for electric to compete with the price of gas when used for heating. Extracting and delivering gas to customers has various costs and further energy input, but you are burning the primary fuel in your house and turning it directly in to useful heat. Electric has similar costs just to deliver fuel to the power plant, and then it adds a whole load more processes to it to make electric and deliver that to consumers who can turn it back in to useful heat. Cooking with electric is simply cooking on a fire that is hundreds of miles away in a power plant. The losses are significant.

When I said it's impossible for electric to be cheaper than gas I was referring to the large number of electric plants that burn gas. Now that a large amount of electric is made from gas, the cost of electric closely correlates with the price of gas, but it is inevitably higher per unit of delivered energy to accommodate the extra expenses from running a power plant, its administration, the electric distribution network, and the greater energy losses from the primary fuel.

Anyway, the best answer to the cost question is to find out your energy costs for gas and electric in comparative units and see what is cheaper. But I can tell you now with great certainty, electric will be more. You don't even have to get your electric from a gas powered plant for the cost of gas to influence your electric costs. Now that electric is sold wholesale on the energy market, the very presence of many gas powered plants in your country will influence the prices for everyone.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 3:22PM
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My first elec stove was in a rental and I didn't like it. When I went back to gas, I hated the gas, electric is cleaner. My new home came with a smooth top, I went shopping to see if I wanted to change it. The salesman said they have been improved in the last few years. I decided to try it and I can't tell any difference in heating times, I love it.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 10:49PM
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I started to switch from electric to gas because of power outages in our area during hurricanes, but the new gas stoves require electricity too. You can save even more money with your electric stove if you unplug it or turn off the switch at the power box when you are not using it. We have a gas furnace and a gas hot water heater. I don't think it is cheap. 100 gallons costed me $194.99 two weeks ago.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 9:20PM
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Can't speak for everyone, only myself and my particular circumstances, but when I had finally had enough of the electric stove (and it would cost quite a bit to fix), I went out and bought a gas one. My electric bill dropped $25 the following month, and stayed that way... My gas bill is about $170 every two years (used only for cooking). I figure that by now, my stove has paid for itself.

I like it better as well. Harder to make popcorn on a electric stove. Not to mention with many small children who like to "help" mommy cook, the electric stove always made me nervous.... it could be off for 10 minutes and still hot enough to burn that sensitive little skin. My stove heats up well, the pot with a lid on it boils as fast or faster than on the electric. It's easier to clean (although I never had one of those with the glass tops.... 6 small children.... no way). It also holds all my pots and pans nicely, without fear of bending or breaking the heating element. I like being able to turn the heat down and having an immediate result. AND my gas stove works when the power goes out. (Not the oven though, or the electric starters, just the burners)

I would think that it couldn't be that much more expensive, IF it is anywhere, because I have never seen a cooking show or worked in a restaurant (and I've worked in quite a few in my years), that used electric stoves. Even the fast food ones of my teenage years used gas. If that many businesses use gas, I rather suspect that it's because it's cheaper, easier, etc.... to use.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 8:00AM
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I hate electric. Hate it. I'm not willing to even bother to find out the exact cost of my gas stove, because I won't change. Every decision doesn't have to be dollars and cents only.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 4:24PM
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I love gas stoves. Our power goes out frequently and I can always cook a meal on the stove. If your gas stove requires electric, you can always use a match to light it. The new ovens require electric for the thermostat.
I dont think I would ever change to elec

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 6:22PM
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Cindy Noll

I contemplated a gas stove, as I am in need of a new one, but decided I will stay with electric. DH's uncle cooked on gas for 50 years, but recently switched to electric, because he is alone and the gas company was going to add charges to his bill since he didn't use much gas anymore. Charging a person for something they don't use is the new way of making money. I cook everyday, am not a gourmet, but I am used to electric & guess that is what will stay.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 6:47AM
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We don't have gas light anymore because the light was weak and the flames started a lot of structure fires.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:46PM
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brewbeer, that's exactly one of the things I'm pointing out. There's benefits to gas, there's benefits to electricity and blanket statements of one being cheaper than the other, one being better than the other or any other blanket statement of choice, just don't hold water. If gas was truly cheaper in any case, we'd use it for light at least in some homes. It isn't. You can get a lot of light from gas, or oil for that matter, but there's downsides as you pointed out. Not much cheaper when you have to pay for a structure or higher insurance!

I do have to smile and bite my tongue whenever the gas vs electric question comes up because invariably it becomes a controversy. Some get so very emotional over a stove! I see the terms "love" and "hate" bantered around and sheesh, some get so defensive! One truly has an emotional attachment to an appliance? Whatever fries your burger I guess. Either way, gas or electric, (or for that matter, charcoal, propane grill, campfire, electric griddle, or even cowchips in a cookstove) still fries my eggs just fine. I can bake a cake in a gas or electric oven. I just don't get too emotional about an appliance. There's costs with each and benefits with each and some have personal preferences. And some get, well, even to the point of radical about it! I personally would prefer gas over conventional electric, all other things being equal And now that induction is here, (and I find that very intriguing) gas is certainly going to lose some ground, especially when the prices of the stoves and cooktops drop some. Better control, safer, and better efficiency. Just requires certain cookware. Many gas users are becoming induction users, for good reasons and likely, many more will convert too.

There's no nirvana, weigh the pros and cons and go with what you like, for whatever reason. My frustration comes in when someone cooked on a stove of either type 20 years ago and compares it to a new "other" kind. It's no surprise then that many would never go back! All I ask is that you compare apple pies with apple pies and make your decision fairly. Either way. It makes no difference to me what you like better.

Couple other quick points. Not being argumentative, just pointing out a couple things. Not all gas stoves can simply be lit with a match. Many can, but according to owners on the appliances forum, there are many stoves that cannot be lit with a match. When power is out, your gas stove is out. So ironically that gas stove still requires that nasty electricity! But you can often get around it by installing a UPS or something, though. One set up a car battery and an inverter.

And if power goes out here, I can still cook on a grill or my campstove, or hook up a generator or use other alternatives. However, it's not a reason that I would choose one appliance over another. I'd look at cost, features, cost of use and availability and let those (maybe some others that I don't think of offhand) factors decide. Other folks have different priorities such as color, finish, type of knobs or whatever else and that's fine with me too.

Uh oh... I hope I didn't just start up a propane vs charcoal controversy! I might have to side with the "cow chip" advocates then! ;)

In any case, happy and frugal cooking, whatever the method!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 7:02PM
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Two years ago I bought a new home and it came with an electric smooth top. I read the book and I can use any pan I want on it. It just cautioned me about dragging pans across the top which I wouldn't do anyway. I would spill something if I did that. LOL I know it takes longer to heat up, but it is so insignificant I don't notice it at all.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 8:02PM
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