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"So, Which Is Cheaper - Gas Or Electric?"

Reblogger Tom Bailey
Real Estate Agent with Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.

This is for my friends and neighbors to read so we can work for more natural gas here in Carteret County. We need it in more places here.

Original content by Jay Markanich 3380-000723

As a home inspector I get the question all the time about appliances - we'll be looking at the dryer or water heater and they will ask, "So, which is cheaper, gas or electric?"

There are many places and sites that you can go to in this investigation.  And it depends on where you live! 

Electricity in some regions is much cheaper than in others.  And gas overall has come down over the years.

One place I saw the bureaucrat actually said to check to see if you live in an all electric house or neighborhood before you purchase a gas appliance!  Uh, um, okaaaay...

And, when this refers to gas, it means natural gas.  There was no where that looked specifically at liquid propane gas appliances, although the propane market does vary somewhat in price like natural gas.  But overall, the natural gas price usages would likely apply to LP.

One place that seems to investigate everything energy related is a fellow named Michael Bluejay.  I don't know if that's his real name, but his site is complete.  I include him here so I don't get accused of ignoring the environmentalists!

Water Heaters

You have to look at water heaters in terms of Btus (British Thermal Units).  A gallon of water weighs 8.33 pounds.  If the water coming into the house is 60F and you want to raise it to 125F, that's a 65 degree F rise.  So how many Btus does it take to do that?     8.33 x 65 = 541 Btus per gallon.

So, an electric water heater averages 93% efficiency.  So 541 Btus divided by 93% efficiency = 582 Btus to heat a gallon of water.

One kilowatt hour is 3413 Btus, so one Btu is .000293 kilowatts.

Then 582 Btus x .000293 kilowatt hours = .17.  Further, if you have a 50 gallon tank then .17 x 50 = 8.5 kilowatt hours to heat a 50 gallon tank of gas.

My electricity costs me $.09 per kilowatt hour, therefore it would cost me .09 x 8.5 or $1.45 to heat 50 gallons.

The typical gas water heater is 59% efficient.  And doing the same math it takes 890 Btus to heat a gallon of water.  Using the same formulas as above and using my gas cost of $1.032 per therm, it costs $.60 to heat a 50 gallon tank of water.

Comparison:  ELECTRIC costs $1.45 to heat a 50 gallon tank vs. GAS which costs $.60 to heat 50 gallons.

Your costs will vary if your electric or gas rates vary from this example!  But still, gas water heaters cost less than half.

Interestingly he also compares the tankless water heaters.  He says the same thing I said in a blog about them over two years ago!  His words:  "the energy savings are meager, and the payback time could easily be 20 to 40 years."  (Remember, they don't last that long.)  Further, "tankless water heaters promote water waste, are more likely to break down and are more expensive to repair when they do break."  So there!  A little more, "Electric tankless units cost as much or more to run than large gas tanks."  He calls the tankless heaters "hype," and I called them "fabled."



Consumer Reports compared a typical household large-load electric dryer to a large-load gas dryer.

That would mean a 22000 Btu dryer for gas versus a 5.4KW dryer for electric.

Their numbers?  Using national averages for gas and electric usage, they determined this:

Comparison:  ELECTRIC costs $.95 per load vs. GAS which costs $.23 per load.

Once again, your rates may vary, but gas dryers cost around 1/4 of an electric dryer.


Kitchen Ranges

Using Energy Star information, which ranks appliances depending on energy savings, they compared typical kitchen range costs using gas versus electric.

They compared cooking time of one hour at 350 degrees F.  An electric oven needs 2 KW to do that, and a gas oven 0.112 therms.  Using the same national averages for costs they arrive at this:

Comparison:  ELECTRIC costs $.14 per kilowatt hour or $5.94 vs. GAS at 100 Btu which costs $2.34.

And even if your rates vary, a gas oven costs less than half of electric.


My recommendation:  do your homework!  If I can do this you can.  Go to different sites and see what you can see.  But when you make your decision, remember, with current information and technologies, the United States alone has enough natural gas to last 92 years.  And in the world another 100 years above that.  So, your gas appliances are likely to have fuel for a while...




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

Natural gas is cheaper in my area, but recently one local company...really the only one, brought lines out to our rural areas. That might raise the price. I would prefer gas to electric, but I live in a house with a coal fired furnace. I don't use it. I use the wood burner instead, and that is my only source of heat. 

Mar 03, 2014 08:40 AM
Kristin Hamilton CA REALTOR
Berkshire Hathaway California Realty - Beaumont, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

I ive in an area where most people us gas appliances and it is less than electric.

Jun 16, 2014 01:59 PM
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

Super interesting breakdown of gas vs electric.  I so want to get some photovoltaic shingles since our electric bills are out of control!

Jun 21, 2014 06:36 AM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Down here most homes do not have the gas option. People are actually surprised when they walk into a home with a gas range in it!

Jul 12, 2014 08:19 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Gas is getting somewhat better I hear by me. But really I just cut cost whenever I can easily go with out something if I don't need it.

Oct 08, 2014 04:59 PM
Sharon Paxson
Sharon Paxson, Realtor® EQTY Forbes Global Properties - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

Thanks for this interesting breakdown between gas and electric, in my area, gas is cheaper.

Oct 18, 2014 04:12 AM
Judith Parker
ProStead Realty - Charlotte, NC
CRS, GRI, CMRS, Charlotte, NC

Good evening Tom .. one of my previous homes was all electric.  I like my current home for it has gas.  Like the gas stove, fireplace and etc.  Seems to be a warmer heat. 

Nov 10, 2014 08:26 AM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

We just installed a propane gas stove and I so excited! It has been years that I have waited to be able to cook with gas again. Unfortunately, natural gas is rare in Florida.

Jan 18, 2015 12:57 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

To each house it's own I guess..I've seen lots of different models and I say that you did okay here.

Jan 23, 2015 02:18 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Just a morning to those who are propane. I wouldn't have the switches be easily accessible on front-face appliances.

Jan 23, 2015 02:20 PM
Debbie Walsh
SHAHAR Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

Good reblog.  Near us they are mostly electric but more and more are switching over to gas. 

Feb 13, 2015 12:42 AM
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, Broker/Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Tom, I can vouch for the cost of gas & electric being different depending on where you live. My home in Illinois was originally electric, but it was so costly we switched it to gas (I'm a fan of gas heat and cooking anyway). Here in Alabama, electric is definitely cheaper. 

Jul 02, 2015 10:16 AM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Nick, do you have natural gas or propane in Alabama. Here in NC natural gas is cheapest, followed by electric, and then propane.

Jul 02, 2015 12:34 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

I hope that we will soon be seeing you current blogs.

Enjoy the holiday weekend.

Jul 03, 2015 02:47 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Hi there, thanks for the follow - returned the honor.

I like Jay's information and it's a good choice for a reblog. I too hope you'll be writing some posts for us soon to let us know what you're up to these days. D 

May 09, 2016 02:02 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

In many condos here ( Los Angeles county), there is no gas option for appliances, so there is no question what is better. 

May 29, 2016 04:36 PM